Archive for October, 2013

Thank God For Your Problems

I was leaving Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri after spending nearly three years there as a young officer trying to impress the world with what I could do. Now, the headquarters had taken notice and had offered me a challenging job at the headquarters.

As I was driving the legendary Route 66 on my way out to my new job in California, I felt pretty good. I would finally get my chance to prove myself. I would also realize my bachelor dreams of experiencing the excitement and thrills of sunny Southern California!

However, a day into my trip I began to realize that I had a big problem. “What have I gotten myself into?” I thought to myself. I began to fear that I didn’t have what it took to do the new job. I felt scared deep inside.

I knew that I would be managing a $200,000,000 a year budget in today’s dollars. What I did not know was that I would be also regularly briefing a two-star general and his staff on the missile test schedule. In addition, I would be managing several engineering projects involving 60 staff.

It was a dream job that was quickly turning into a nightmare. This problem was part of the reason I said yes to an invitation to learn more about God soon after I arrived in California. My back was against the wall and I desperately needed help. Maybe God could help?

And help he did. A few months later he made me part of his family and began to increasingly honor himself through my impossible job. I declared to all that I was a Christian, and together God and I met the challenges of this impossible job.

So, why give God thanks for our problems? The answer is because he does good things through them.

In the true story above, my problem job was a big factor in me becoming a Christian. God wants us to rejoice in our problems. He wants us to appreciate how problems help us to become godlier (James1: 2-3).

But in our old way of thinking, we want to be comfortable. Pain is not our thing. We would rather be comfortable than grow spiritually.

God also wants us to be content with our problems. He says through Paul “I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

But in our old way of thinking, we hate feeling weak. We want to be strong without any help from God. We want to feel that our life is under our control. We are scared to trust God to make us strong.

A third action God wants us to take regarding our problems is to give thanks for them. “In [every problem] give thanks, for this is [My] will for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). “I cause all [your problems] to work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

But in our old way of thinking, we tend to think negative about our problems. We have a hard time believing that our problems have any good thing to offer us. We would rather complain than give thanks for them.

So, what are your problems today, and how do you view them? Do you view them as threats to your peace of mind? Or do you look at them as God’s opportunities to rejoice, be content, and to give thanks?

Why don’t you put off the old ways of looking at your problems, and see them from God’s perspective (Ephesians 4:22-24)?

This week I was faced with a number of problems. My first response was frustration and despair. However, I eventually chose to give thanks for each one of them. As I did, my frustration lifted and a new sense of peace settled over me.

So, why don’t you try doing this too? Thank God for each problem that you can think of and give thanks for the good that he will bring from each one.

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