If Everyone Were Just Like Me – My Problems Would Disappear!
Ed, my old neighbor, from Saskatchewan ran into a problem with his combine recently. When I talked to him yesterday, he was cranky at a few folks who he was certain had the intelligence of fence posts. My old neighbor could not see an end to his harvest because his combine has broken down. A slow mechanic and a back-order on a needed part had Ed grumbling. He felt that if other people were just like himself, slow service and back orders would not happen.
Sparks flew when I quoted, Norman Vincent Peale, to Ed. Peale said, “When God wants to send you a gift, he wraps it up in a problem. The bigger the gift that God wants to send you, the bigger the problem he wraps it up in.” I told Ed that maybe there was a gift for him to discover in his broken-down combine. That suggestion turned out to be like gasoline tossed on a campfire. According to Ed, there is no good gift in his problem. He felt that I should know that. He insisted that a problem was a needless hassle that God could have spared a person from enduring. I wanted to ask Ed if it was God’s fault that his combine broke down, but I wasn’t eager for another explosion.
I have also been frustrated like Ed and stuck on a problem. Sometimes we get overly concerned with what went wrong and why there is no fixing the problem as soon as we want. Focusing on what went wrong, and blaming others or ourselves ends in frustration. Perhaps, we dislike problems because they confirm that we are not in control of everything. It isn’t great to be stopped or delayed in what we need to do, but should we expect life to always to go the way we want it to go? Surely it is a wise person who looks for good in every situation. Some learn a valuable lesson from the difficulty they face.
For Christians, problems are the testing ground of the faith we profess. Problems are where we have the opportunity to develop our characters. God leads us in life through problems and setbacks, so that we can become more Christ-like. Problems are our opportunities to gain more maturity by becoming more patient, humble, trusting, self-controlled, hopeful, merciful and forgiving.
Problems give us the opening to worry as well as to grumble. Do we know that worrying and grumbling do not resolve problems? When we face problems will we acknowledge that God is always in control, and allow him room to work? Do we worry and become frustrated because we want our problem fixed our way, right away? Do we worry that we cannot trust God with our problem? We cannot pressure God. He doesn’t play favorites and lovingly helps everyone according to his timetable?
Big problems or little problems we tend to try and solve them on our own. When we cannot straighten out our problems, we may then seek help from others. Often we are frustrated and cranky because we cannot get our problems sorted out fast enough to suit us. Christ solved his problems on earth with the help of his Father in heaven. So should we.