canstockphoto13776554

Problems, by definition, are a matter or a situation that are regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with.  It’s the last part of that definition that we struggle with.  We don’t want to deal with problems.  And generally we don’t welcome them with open arms!

But should we?

Would that change our outlook and our attitude?  This isn’t a desire for problems, but a realization that they are inescapable and on appointment from God.  They have a God given purpose.

I want us to spend the next few moments looking the following passage out of Romans over then giving one common example of God using problems that I’ll bet every Christian has experienced.

Romans 5:1 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.
Romans 5:2 And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
Romans 5:3 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us,
Romans 5:4 and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  (The Message)

First take a look at verses 1 and 2 again.

Romans 5:1 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.
Romans 5:2 And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

Both of these establish that through faith, we have been made right, or, justified.  And we have peace with God.  Due to the work Jesus did on the cross we have a right relationship with God – an open door policy to come to Him in prayer.

For the sake of this post, it’s imperative that we highlight this because it adds texture to the next two verses.

Romans 5:3 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us,
Romans 5:4 and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. 

There’s more to come!  It’s as if Paul says in an excited voice,

“Guess what guys – troubles are going to come your way!”

I can imagine Paul writing these words with a big smile on his face filled with joy at truth of these words.  He has realized what we need to be reminded of.  Troubles, because of what happened to us in the first two verses, take on new meaning for the Christian.  The Christian is equipped by God to deal with the troubles we face knowing that God is developing our character and preparing us for what He will do next!!

Can you imagine dealing with problems with the first two verses NOT being true in your life?  Can you imagine dealing with the troubles of life without the assurance and peace that reigns in your heart?  Paul’s words do not exempt us from the pain of troubles, but they encourage and remind us that through problems and troubles, God is correcting (Psalm 119:71),  He is protecting (Genesis 50:20) and inspecting (James 1:2-3) us!!  I’m quite content knowing that God is forging in me exactly what He wants and I want to be alert to what God is going to do next.

Let me switch gears for a moment.  Have you ever had a mountain top experience with God?  You know, one of those moments where you feel like you’ve arrived!  You’re at the top of the mountain.  You’ve worked hard to get where you are at.  You’ve struggled through problems and troubles and your relationship with God feels so close!

But you get comfy.

Like Peter, you want to setup camp here.  You don’t want to leave.  Your comfortable and in your comfort, you become lax in your prayer time.  You spend a bit less time in the Bible.  This doesn’t happen all at once.  And you make good excuses as to why you haven’t spent the time with God that you need.

“I’ve got mountain top work to do here!  Surely God understands that!”

Sure He does, but He also understands how much you need Him on a daily basis – not in sprints, but consistent endurance.  Even as much as God knows that we need Him daily, He never pushes himself on us, however, he does use the everyday problems to draw us back on track.  They get our attention and remind us that we are beginning to spiritually starve and need to sit down for a spiritual meal!

And it is just like a meal!  We cannot expect a meal to be on our table at home if we never go to the grocery store and get the food and spend the time preparing the food. We have to do our part.

We also cannot expect God to give us a spiritual meal. We have to seek it from Him. He will sustain us, but it’s up to us to seek Him! God isn’t going to spoon feed us and God will use problems, “one of those days”, to get our attention. He knows what we need and so wants to give it to us, but we need to go to Him for it. He doesn’t force feed it.

You know, in the mornings, it’s my role to get the girls up and get breakfast going along with their Flintstone Vitamins. Nicky takes care of doing their hair and packing their lunches. I can do their hair, but no one really likes the outcome!   I don’t know why.  I make the pony tails match…mostly!  Once I’ve got breakfast served, I lay out their vitamins in front of them and tell them they need to take them and remind them that they help in keeping them healthy!  And it never fails!  All three get up from the breakfast table without taking their vitamins!

So here I am, loaded with vitamins in hand and ready to dispense and by dispense I mean shove them into their mouths!  I literally chase them down, and get them to open up so I can put the vitamin in their mouth. Then I stand there and make sure they start chewing them up because if I don’t, they end up spitting them out in the garbage!

Don’t they understand that what I’m doing is good for them???

Unlike me, God is not going to chase us around this world and shove Himself into our hearts, even though it is exactly what we need.  And we cannot expect Him to nor can we expect to maintain a close relationship with Him if we neglect time spent in prayer and the Word.   We are to be maturing as Christians and as such we ought to be making sure we are feeding ourselves what we need.

I know what you must be thinking!  If I spend the right amount of time in devotions with God, I won’t have problems!

“Wrong!”

But what you will find is your attitude will be changed about them!  You will find that your desire is to take them head on realizing they are present in your lives and on appointment from God.  They indeed have a God given purpose.  Your focus will transition from why me to what it is that God is doing in me!

And that’s a good place to be spiritually!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from BNC.

You have Successfully Subscribed!