Handling Our Problems Part 1
Johnny Cash, These things shall pass
Our lives can often seem to consist of nothing but problems. There are times when it feels as if we encounter one problem after another; it is almost a steady diet of problems; and since dealing with problems can be a tough road to hoe, I thought I break the message into two parts. So today in Part one, I want to take a look at how does God view our problems and is there a way we can anticipate problems and prepare for them.
Our opening Prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life whenever I begin to feel my problems overwhelming me and taking control of my life so that I might find the best way to deal with them. Thank you – Amen.”
Marty Robbins, Have thy own way Lord
Louvin Brothers, The weapon of prayer
Our scripture The Book Of Psalms – Psalm 6 – A Prayer for Mercy in Time of Trouble.
O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.
And my soul is greatly dismayed; But You, O Lord—how long?
Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness.
For there is no mention of You in death; In Sheol who will give You thanks?
I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.
My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries.
Depart from me, all you who do iniquity, For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication, The Lord receives my prayer.
All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed; They shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed.
Gatlin Brothers; with ‘It is well with my soul’
Dolly Parton, ‘Golden streets of glory’
As I stated at the begining of the program, in our modern world, our lives can often seem to consist of nothing but problems. There are times when it feels as if we encounter one problem after another; it is almost a steady diet of problems; and since dealing with problems can be a tough road to hoe. Today in Part one of our series on dealing with problems, I want to look at how God views our problems and is there a way we can anticipate problems and prepare for them.
So exactly, how does God view our problems?
First, it is important that we realize and trust that He truly does care about us. In 1st Peter chapter 5 verse 7 it is written, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” To some folks those words can be difficult to accept, especially when we are locked in a struggle and facing mounting problems. There have been times in my own life when I have questioned that and have asked ‘why?’, why am I being tested, after all, I try to live my life as a Christian, I tell folks about Jesus, so I think, this does not make any sense. After all, if God does indeed care about us why does He allow good people to have problems or to face trouble? Theologians and everyday people have been asking that queston almost as long as we have talked and thought about God.
One school of thought teaches that God does not test the weak that He only tests the strong; people who can withstand the pressure. The analogy often used is how a potter does not press his hands against a cracked vase, because it is easy to see that it will break. However, he will press against a vase that shows no cracks or nicks to see if it is as strong as it seems. Think of youself much like a newly built vase, if we appear as strong believers or strong individuals then there is a chance He could test us to see just how strong we are. A perfect example of this theory is in the story of Job. God allowed Satan to pretty much do whatever he wanted to Job in order to try to get Job to deny God. No matter the problems he faced Job never gave in, he never stopped believing in God and in the end, his problems disappeared and his life returned to normal.
That will happen for us if we continue to believe because He truly wants to help. In Psalm 145 verse 14 we read, “The Lord sustains all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.” That verse reminds me of a story about a person who looks over their life and sees two pairs of footprints in the sand. Then occassionaly there was only one pair of footbprints, and when the man asked God about it, God told him, those times when there was only one pair of footprints was when I picked you up and carried you.
Several of the Psalms also speak about a person praying to God for relief from the problems of the world. Throughout the New Testament, there are stories about Jesus helping a person deal with his problems. We read exhortation after exhortation for us to be faithful in our prayers and to believe that God will help us overcome the problems.
In addition to testing our faith and our resilency, God may use our problems to give us unexpected assignments. Those are those times when we may become witnesses to the power of Jesus and the strength of our beliefs. In the book of Acts in chapter 8, we read about how after Stephen was martyered the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem began to persecute the disciples. As a result, many of them left the city and while the Apostles remained in the city, many other believers went to Samaria and Judah and then in verse 4 we read, “Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.”
When faced with problems, it is important to remember that others may be watching how we respond. It is vital they see us respond as Christians and that we deal with our problems in a manner that reflects positively on our faith. We never know when someone who watches us will come to Jesus because of how we behave. We also never know when someone who watches us will turn away from Jesus because of our behavior. Every waking moment of our lives is a potential moment when we can bring someone to salvation. Every time we deal with and face our problems is also a time when we can learn and grow as Christians.
The more we deal with our problems, the more we will wish there was a way to anticipate problems and prepare for them. There is such a way, the first thing we need to accept is to realize that problems are inevitable – so the question isn’t will I have problems, the real question is what will I do when they show up?
The solution is found in the words in Jude chapter 20 verse 21 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,” which guides us by reminding us that we must continually add to our lives by building on the foundation of our faith. If we add walls and pillars and grow in our faith, then problems will not be able rock our foundation. We reinforce our faith on a daily basis by praying and asking the Holy Spirit to enter into our lives and help us grow and gain wisdom.
Once we achieve a level of wisdom, when we encounter problems we are able to step back, calmly analyze the situation and begin to deal with whatever issue we face. For example, if we are having an issue with a co-worker, by practicing our Christian faith, we are better able to understand where they are coming from. If we are having issues with our spouse, if we practice Christian love and truly love our neighbor as ourself, we are able to communicate better with him or her.
The ability to walk and live as a true Christian is vital to our ability to deal with life’s problems. In Colossians chapter 2 verses 6-7, Paul instructs the congregation by telling them. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude”; that ability to walk in Jesus is something that only comes from our continual nurturing our belief in Him. If we are truly thankful for everything He does for us, for everything in our lives, including our problems, then we grow stronger and stronger and nothing can phase us, nothing can stop us. We are ready for any eventuality and issue that might arise.
Once we do as Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 6 verses 11-12, we have “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We have to remember and remind ourselves that quite often Satan causes our problems. Satan is the source of evil in the world and while God might permit Satan to test us, He gives us the strength to fight him.
Whenever we find ourselves in the beginging stage of one of our problems, if we say this simple prayer, we will find the strength to endure and overcome the issue. “Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life whenever I begin to feel my problems overwhelming me and taking control of my life so that I might find the best way to deal with them. Thank you – Amen.”
Going to close out today with music from: Conway Twitty, Clinging to a saving hand