In Romans 8:35-37, the apostle Paul who was beset by problems on every hand (2 Corinthians 4:8-18) stated: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us – depending on how we respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.
With the above thoughts in mind, the following are five ways God wants to use the problems in our life:
1) God Uses Problems To “Direct” Us
Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways (Proverbs 20:30).
2) God Uses Problems To “Inspect” Us
People are like tea bags … if you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do these problems reveal about you? “When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.” (James 1:2-3).
3) God Uses Problems To “Correct” Us
Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It’s likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something … health, money, a relationship … by losing it. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws.” (Psalm 119:71-72).
4) God Uses Problems To “Protect” Us
A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents us from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem – but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management’s actions were eventually discovered. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good ….” (Genesis 50:20).
5) God Uses Problems To “Perfect” Us
Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in our “character” than our “comfort”. Our relationship to God and our character are the only two things we are going to take with us into eternity. “We can rejoice when we run into problems … they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” (Romans 5:3-4).
Here’s the point: God is at work in our life (even when we do not recognize it or understand it). But it’s much easier and profitable when we cooperate with Him. “Success can be measured not only in achievements, but in lessons learned, lives touched, and moments shared along the way.”
Let us be encouraged by the words of the inspired apostle Paul in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”