The Positive Side Of Life’s Problems

Before I begin to present to you the information that is contained in my column today, I feel it is necessary to assert that though the points and objectives that I will consider are consistent with Biblical principles and teaching, this is not a sermon or attempt to proselytize.

No One is Immune or Exempt from Troubles
One of the facts of life that applies to all people regardless of race, creed, color, or nationality is that no one gets a pass when it comes to the troubles and trials of life. One’s station in life, education, wealth, religious beliefs, or other affiliations and connections do not give them immunity or exemption from adversity and troubles that are common to all who live.

There is a Silver Lining in
the Midst of Trouble
Invariably, in perhaps most storms of troubles and turmoil, there is a light at the end of the tunnel – a silver lining that goes undetected to the naked eye. Since it requires faith, hope, and optimism to peer beyond and through the darkness and shadows of adversity and pain (when trouble looms and seems to reign supreme), most who are caught in a winter of discontent and misery barely survive. They do not know that it is seasonal and will ultimately give place to a spring and new beginning of refreshing and restoration. Knowing this can truly be a positive side to our trouble.

Problems Reveal Our
True Character
One of the positive sides of problems and troubles is that they help to reveal and shape our character. Every person consists of three distinct identities and perceptions. First, we are who people think we are. Secondly, we are who we think we are. Finally, we are who we really are. It is the third identity that is revealed and forged in the crucible of fiery trials and troubles that shape our characters and prove who we really are. Many ordinary people have become great and extraordinary through the adversity and hardships they experienced.

Problems Stimulate Growth and Change
“To live is to grow and to grow is to change…” This adage is one that I have adopted and used for well over 40 years. It reveals the connection between growth and change. Without growth, there can be no change; and without change, there can be no growth. One of the sure stimulants in each of our lives that have necessitated and produced both growth and change have stemmed from problems and perplexities. If necessity is the mother of inventions, then its first cousin, problem, is the source of growth and change. Many solutions to life’s hurts and pains come about due to problems. The rapid development of various vaccines to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic is a classic example. Even in our personal lives and relationships, it is often the problems that we face that force us to grow and to change.

Problems Often Causes Us to Value People and Things More
Most, if not all, of us are people with feet of both iron and clay who have the flawed tendency to take people and things that are important to us for granted. How many will honestly admit that it took some crisis, sickness, or even death to make you realize that you had taken some close relative or friend for granted? Also, that you had not valued or cherished your relationships with them like you should have. In the case of losing them to death, your lack of giving them their flowers while they lived became something you had to deal with due to guilt and grief once they died before you could make it right. I have been there and had to seek help from the Lord to get through it. Learn from your mistakes and do not make the same ones with others who are close to you.
Recently, the lack of available gasoline flowing through the pipeline of Colonial Gas due to computer hackers in Russia (who were black mailing them for a few million dollars) gave millions of us on the East coast some alarm. It made us value more the readily availability of gasoline that we too often take for granted. Truly, you do not miss your water until your well runs dry.

Problems Will Drive Us to Someone Who Can Fix Them
One of the things that problems often do in the lives of people is to force or compel them to seek someone who can help to solve them. Whether it is physical, mental, financial, relational, or religious in nature, when problems and perplexities come that are beyond our abilities, skills, and wisdom to remedy, we most likely will seek competent and professional help, if we are not delusional, stubborn, and a captive to the very thing that has inflicted us. Forty-seven years ago, I was in a terrible predicament. I was a captive to Satan and sin, due to my rebellion and rejection of the One who had redeemed me and made me a part of His family. Like the prodigal son in the Biblical narrative, one day I came to my senses and cried out to the One I had rebelled against and rejected. In the hog pen, the belly of the fish, and the deep and horrible pit, I cried out to the only One who could deliver me.
In response, He heard my cry and rescued me. He set my feet on a rock and put a new song in my mouth, even praise to God. I therefore recommend Him to any and everyone who needs to be saved, delivered, and brought out of bondage. In the words of my wife, in one of her most profound sermons, “If you call Him, He will come!”