Saturday, October 16, 2010

Problems: Opportunities in Work Clothes

While running errands, I passed by a small unassuming church, and in the middle of the impeccably manicured lawn, the church message board read: “Problems are opportunities in work clothes.” Honestly, my thoughts were, “Yeah, right.” “Whatever.” Still, the little message has been ringing in my head, especially since lately I’ve had an onslaught of “opportunities in work clothes.”

Whether we like it or not, problems and obstacles have a way of holding a mirror up to ourselves and revealing our real selves to us, blemishes and all. When we aren’t where we need to be in Christ and there are no real problems or obstacles in our lives, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are the reason for any good things that have happened to us. We can attribute our success to our work ethic, great mind, or wonderful connections. On the other hand, when adversity strikes this type of Christian, they can be quick to ask God, “How could you let this happen to me?” “Why me, God?” Honestly, I know this Christian because I have fallen into this bad behavior and thinking many times. I’ve experienced the meltdowns when things are looking hopeless and bleak. Like Rueben in the Bible, I have had bouts of being “unstable as water” (Gen. 49:4). No matter what worldly accomplishments and achievements a person makes, a Christian cannot excel spiritually and be truly productive with character that is marred with instability.

Conversely, when you encounter a Christian who is truly anchored in the Lord and has overcome adversity with the realization that God is their only source, traces of pride and arrogance are never detected. I Corinthians 15:8 says, “be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” This verse is small but packed full of ammunition for the believer to fight problems and overcome obstacles.

We must be steadfast and unmovable. In a world that changes opinions, beliefs, and positions constantly, believers are commanded to be consistent and unchanging. There is no greater challenge for us to show how sovereign and good God is than to remain steadfast and unmovable in the face of adversity. We have to rely on God as our source in all matters. We must choose to exercise our faith and trust Him at all costs. This means that we are guaranteed to look unreasonable and foolish to the world. Still, we are called to be consistent and unchanged by relying on Him. It can’t be done apart from Him.

Whatever work we do, our vision for ourselves must always be in line with what God’s work is for us to do. With that God-given and inspired perspective, problems really can become opportunities for us to show others who God is and what He can do through faith. We have to use problems and adversity as a stepping stone to perfect us and mold us into being more like Him. If we resist, kick and scream at the problems, we will remain stagnant. We cannot produce unless we are connected to Jesus and His living Word. I can attest that His Word has literally breathed newness into so many bad situations. Like a breath of fresh air, His Word cleanses, restores, and renews.

Even while typing this, I have tears rolling down my cheeks because too often I haven’t trusted Him with problems. However, there is not one single time when I have trusted Him that He has let me down. Not one. God is faithful. I don’t know who this is for, but I know that God wants you to trust Him. Believe that He is sovereign and that He reigns forever. Let go of it and truly let Him take control. Your problems are only an indication of how God can demonstrate His greatness in your life.

Trusting Him with You,