Featured in the August, 2010 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
What you do with your problems determines what you do with your life because much of life is problems. If you are successful in handling your problems, you will be successful in living. Here are three methods that you can use to deal with your problems.
The most delightful way to deal with a problem is to solve it. You may solve a problem by leaving it behind. Egypt with its slavery and hopelessness was a problem to the Jews. They simply walked out (Exodus 12-14). It may be better to leave an old car at the city dump than to pay for another costly repair.
It is also wise to leave an old life behind just like Matthew did (Matthew 9:9) and become “a new creation in Christ Jesus” (II Corinthians 5:17).
Another way to solve your problem is by getting help. When Lot was captured it was Uncle Abraham who came to his rescue and solved his problem (Genesis 14). Perhaps a good friend or a wise Christian counselor could help you solve your problem.
Another way to solve your problem is to appeal directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. When the disciples were about to drown during the storm on Galilee, they called to Jesus, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). Since He solved their problem, why can’t He solve yours?
Now all of this may sound too easy since you and I both know that all problems are not solved. What about the problem that does not seem to go away so quickly?
If a problem cannot be solved, perhaps it can be shrunk. So, if you can’t solve it, shrink it. You owe a lot of money and it seems you can never pay it off? Don’t get discouraged. Though there is no instant solution you can certainly reduce the amount. Working on this will make you feel better and the people you owe the money to will also feel better. Don’t say, “If I can’t pay it all, I won’t pay anything”; instead, make moderate regular payments and thus shrink your problem. The secret lies in the word “regular”. It is amazing how a large amount of money can be paid off with regular payments. A thirty-year mortgage is an example!
You have a weight problem? Already you have tried all the diets only to become hopelessly discouraged. Why not forget the fad approaches and 30-day plans. If you weigh 300 pounds, why not just take off a pound a month. That won’t solve your problem but it will shrink it and do so without wrecking your health or frightening your friends.
But it has to be admitted that there are some problems that cannot be solved nor shrunk. Then what do you do?
If your problem cannot be solved and it cannot be shrunk, then you have a difficulty like Paul’s “thorn” in his flesh that simply would not go away (II Corinthians 12:7-10). Paul had some chronic physical ailment that is described as “a messenger of Satan to torment” him. Paul prayed three times for it to be taken away, and even the spiritual Paul with his powerful prayers could not get rid of this malady.
Since he could not get rid of the problem, he has two choices. He can either live with it in defeat or live with it in victory. All by himself he would have probably become a sullen, bitter person living in defeat with this ailment.
However, he found a better way. He listened to Christ who said, “My grace is sufficient, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Now with the power of Christ, he was able not merely to survive but to thrive. He could live in victory and with the strength of the Savior he could supervise his problem; that is, he could make it serve him rather than he becoming a slave to his problem.
Hear him as he says, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” He supervises his problem so that he turns his adversity into an advantage. He says, “That is, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul almost makes you want to go looking for problems so you can have the exciting experience of receiving Christ’s strength to deal with these difficulties. The problem may be bigger than you, but it is never bigger than God.
So, it is clear that the unsolvable, unshrinkable problem need not ruin your life. Our powerful God will use that problem to make you the kind of person that He wants you to become.