By guest writer RL Calhoun
Someone once said with a note of sarcasm: “So you have a problem! Welcome to the human race!” One thing we all share is having to deal with problems, a disease that is not contagious because we all have already been infected with it. As the old song goes, “Problems, problems, all day long”, some days it is one problem after another with little peace in between.
It is an undeniable axiom that living and encountering problems go hand in hand. Problems are big and small, major and minor, anticipated and unexpected. Some are easily solved and some seem to be totally beyond the realm of solution.
There are job-related and family-related problems and others that don’t seem to be related to anything at all. The list goes on and on endlessly.
Some people think Christians ought to be immune from ever having to deal with problems. They view the Christian life as being a journey of perpetual joy. It is their conviction that there must be something wrong spiritually in the life of a Christian who has to deal with some difficult problem. The fantasy that the Christian life is problem-free is certainly not set forth in the Bible. On the contrary, from Genesis to Revelation, it is a book all about people with problems.
Don’t ever be duped into believing that God always shields his children from problems. Believe that lie and you are going to have a battle with doubt. You are going to live under a burden of constant accusation, worry and fear.
There is absolutely no doubt that God has the power to shield his children from any and all problems if He desires to do so. Yet, often He doesn’t, and that’s all part of his glorious plan.
In a promise Jesus made to his first disciples and also to you, He said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” – John 16:33.
Now notice that Jesus didn’t say: “You might have a few problems to endure”. In effect, He said: “Make no mistake about it, as long as you live in this sin-cursed world, you are going to have problems. There will be troubles and sorrows, distresses and frustrations but never forget; I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of its power to conquer you.”
Many people pretend problems don’t exist, practicing a philosophy of denial – “If I act like they’re not there, maybe they’ll go away.” The truth is that most problems don’t just suddenly vanish into oblivion. They have to be faced and handled.
Many others try to run away from their problems, adopting the position Charlie Brown takes in a Peanuts cartoon: “This is a distinct philosophy of mine. There is no problem too great or too small that it can’t be run away from.” But people who try to run away from problems invariably run right into a set of new ones.
Tragically, some folks just give into the problems that confront them, becoming defeated and depressed. Sometimes, people overwhelmed by seemingly impossible problems see no way out except suicide. Although problems can seem insurmountable, none is ever big enough to cause us to end our life. More than any problem any of us will ever face will be our attitude toward that problem. We need to remember that every problem has a limited life span. It is our attitude that will get us through the storm and on the other side where the problem has been resolved.
Everyone should respond to the problem of problems by viewing trials and difficulties as the means of spiritual advancement. If we had no problems, we would have no spiritual growth in our life. In the world of athletics, there’s a slogan “No pain, no gain” – its Christian equivalent is “No problems, no progress”.
Holy God is up to something in your life and the problems you have to deal with often form the method He utilizes to make his purpose for your life a reality.
Everyone should respond to the problem of problems by maintaining a strong faith in the Lord. God doesn’t want his people whimpering. He wants us to have faith in Him even when it seems to make no sense to do so. Our confession is to be: “Lord, I see the problem. It’s there but so are You. It’s a great problem indeed but, Lord, You are greater. I know that You will grant me the victory in Your own way and in Your own time.”
If you are dealing with some huge problem in your life right now, be assured that God loves you. He is ready, willing and able to overcome any problem you are facing. In fact, He offers you this invitation: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me” – Psalm 50:15.
RL Calhoun is pastor of New Life Fellowship church in Texas City.