God's Definition of "Problem"

Webster describes a problem as "a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation." Sounds about right, doesn't it? Not to God. God doesn't send problems to us to perplex, distress, or vex us. He has other reasons.

1. Problems often provide us with greater opportunities.
Think about the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Lazarus became sick and died. This was a problem for the sisters. Not only were they discouraged by the loss of their brother, but they were also disheartened that Jesus didn't arrive to heal him. What they didn't know was that God had something better in store for them. They didn't get to witness a miraculous healing, but they did get to witness a miraculous resurrection.

2. Problems can promote our spiritual maturity.
How about Jonah? Not the most mature of Christians, was he? God gave him a command to go to Ninevah, and Jonah hopped on the next boat headed in the opposite direction. But, after a bumpy boat ride and a slobbery encounter with a whale, Jonah grew up. He followed God's command, and Ninevah repented of their sins.

3. Problems prove our integrity.
Several examples would work well here, but the first one that came to my mind was Daniel. Daniel was faithful, but it's easy to be faithful when things are going well and you're highly esteemed. God used some problems (in the form of colossal kitty cats) in Daniel's life to prove his integrity not only to others but also to himself.

4. Problems produce a sense of dependence.
In Psalm 38:4, David said, For mine iniquities are over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. Sometimes God uses problems to knock us off our self-appointed pedestals. When things are going well, we tend to lose sight of God and the fact that we need Him. We rely on our jobs, money, and possessions to satisfy us. Sometimes, God has to strip us of those things to get our focus and dependence back on Him where they belong.

5. Problems prepare our hearts for ministry.
If you go through the book of Psalms (my favorite book), you'll discover a trend in many chapters. The beginning of the chapter starts out as a sob story. This happened, and that happened. I'm tired of crying. I'm sick of running. I'm in such great despair. Lord, where are you, and why are you allowing this to happen to me? But, by the end of the chapter, you'll hear praise and thanksgiving. There's nothing like a good problem to remind us of how good God is and how worthy He is of our praise.

So, the next time you go through a problem, don't think of it the way Webster does. Think of it the way God does. Allow Him to use the situation to help you grow as a Christian. That's all He wants. The problems are sent to help us not to harm us.

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good. - Genesis 50:20a

***Excerpt from Mindful Musings of a Moody Motivator***
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