Easy answer, problems are definitely our enemy, right? As usual, we are not going to conform to the world’s viewpoint and answer. Instead, even though making friends with your problems sounds so trite, even silly, it’s actually the truth and really works! Though many things may feel random and messed up because of all your problems, stop for a moment and remember this. Your God is sovereign over everything … and He can “fit everything into a pattern of good”.
God would rather teach us without suffering, heartache, and challenge. That is the model He presented in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, we do not learn as much as we need to that way. So, God has to use other methods to catch our attention, change our focus or path, or show us what is destructive to us. Discipling us! Discipline is intentional training to produce moral character or conduct, the Mind of Christ. Events are only problems when we don’t understand the discipling and disciplining processes.
Our problems are opportunities to show what we have learned. After I practiced in baseball a lot, I wanted to go against good competition to show how much I had learned and how good I was. Same in medical school, as I assessed and worked up a patient and studied the illness, I was excited to present to the attending and let him grill me so I could show my growth as a psychiatrist. A “problem” in life is really that competition or test we take to show our growth … and show areas we still need to work on. Why? Because we need to grow or more suffering will be guaranteed.
The best way to befriend your problems is to thank God for His care for you as He gives you an opportunity to show the work you have put in and your resulting growth in Him … or His willingness to show you areas where He wants to grow and equip you. This simple act will open your mind to having God’s benefits: Developing the Mind of Christ, and intimate relationship with God flow from your problems.
Today, look at your problems. If you are thankful and handling them, then you are preparing well … putting on the armor, getting your confidence from God, and letting the Lord lead you into battle. If you are struggling, not thankful for your problems and lack understanding of them, then look at how you are preparing for your “tests” and where you are getting your confidence. You decide what is at the center of your heart influencing the lenses you use to view your problems. As usual, it gets down to heart exam time. Your decision, choose well.
Dear Father, I am overwhelmed with life’s problems … they are mounting so much that I cannot see over them. At times I am almost paralyzed with fear. It’s hard, but I want to thank You for these problems. I do not expect You to remove these problems, Lord … but I do pray that You strengthen me through them and that You make good come from these problems. Let each problem teach me something, Lord … transforming me little by little into the masterpiece You have created me to be … drawing me closer to You. I pray in the name of the One who knew no guilt till He bore all mine, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24