On faith: Good problems
By: Pastor Scott Nelson, First Baptist Church, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
A story is told about a golfer who was about to hit his first tee shot of the day. He swung hard, but completely missed the ball. He swung again and missed again. After a couple more tries, he took out his handkerchief, wiped his brow, and said, “Man, this is a tough course!” Now he may have been right, but that wasn’t his problem at that moment. We all have problems, some of them we bring on ourselves, some are caused by others, and still other problems are simply caused by circumstances around us in a world infected with sin.
I wish I could say that when you follow Jesus, all your problems go away, but I can’t. In fact Jesus said just the opposite in John – “In this world you will have problems; but take heart – I have overcome the world.” Problems are a part of life that we cannot get away from. We struggle in our marriages, with our kids, at work, with finances, with neighbors, and in countless other areas. And usually when we are in the midst of hard times, we wish the problems would just go away. In fact we often pray to God, pleading that he will remove the problems from our lives. Sometimes He does what we ask and removes the problem. Other times He seems silent, and the problem remains.
So how should we take it when God seems silent in the midst of our problems? Doesn’t He care? The answer is found at least in part in Romans which reads: “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.” God uses garbage in our lives to bring about the change He desires to see in us. He uses problems to refine our faith. If you are a believer in Jesus, look back at your walk of faith. When have you seen the most dramatic growth? For me, it is in times of trouble, when problems cause me to fall to my knees, and I have nowhere else to turn but to my Heavenly Father. Those are the times my faith is stretched the most.
Even the worst of problems can be growth points in our lives, and especially in our walks of faith. It is at these times we learn to trust in God’s power, love and sovereignty. After the battle of Bull Run, Stonewall Jackson, who had received a painful wound in the battle, was asked: “General, how can you keep so cool and appear so utterly at peace even amidst a storm of bullets as rained about you when your hand was hit?” He answered, “Friend, my faith teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me.”
Problems come and problems go, but the Lord will always remain faithful to His people. If you have a problem right now, take it to the Lord in prayer. Trust Him, and see what He will do for you. He is the one who in every situation “works for the good of those who love Him.” Do you love Him? Have you found forgiveness and grace at the foot of the cross of Jesus? He carried your sin and mine when He died at Calvary, and all you must do is believe. Put your faith in Him today and give Him your problems.