My Uncle Ernest was an old gray haired retired electrician. He was one of the most practical Christians I ever knew too. None of this old “namby pamby”, “pie in the sky in the great by and by” type of Christianity either. He knew life was a hard road and didn’t pretend otherwise. Yet he also knew the joy of being a Christian and always had a positive outlook on life. And he laughed a lot. (He could tell some good fish stories too.) Many Christians today don’t have a realistic outlook or approach to life. They slug away day after day struggling and trying to make ends meet. Somewhere in the back of their minds, they really believe that one day, things will be easier. If they can just get a better job. If they can just get caught up on the bills… Someday life will be easier. They just have to find some kind of secret that will make it all fall in place. Perhaps you’ve been thinking the same thing. I know I have in the past. I hate to pop your bubble, but it just ain’t so. Christ told us that in this world we would have tribulation (read “trouble”). There won’t be any “some day” in this life. Life is full of bumps from beginning to end. Sound pessimistic? Yes, but it’s not. Warren Wiersbe wrote a book once called, “Bumps Are What You Climb On”. Life is full of bumps and potholes, and the sooner you learn what they are for, the sooner your life will become better.
The Here and Now Vs. The Great By and By
People have debated for centuries such questions as:
Why does God allow evil?
Why am I here?
What is my purpose in life?
Ordinary people, philosophers, and theologians alike have wrestled with these questions. And you know what? Still no one has come up with any satisfactory answers. You know what that tells me? We won’t know the answers to such questions until we get to Heaven. So…what do we do in the meantime? For starters, we have to live our lives in the present. Sure, we are to look forward to Heaven and the joy we will share there. But in our day to day activities, we have to find answers to the immediate problems we face. Here are a few:
Sometimes the answer to problems we face are giving in the Bible. Start there.
Problems Caused By Our Own Actions
Sometimes the answer is in our actions. In other words, we create certain problems ourselves. The old law of cause and effect is still in place. We perform a certain act (the cause) and we get a certain effect (a problem). The solution to this, of course, is to determine the effect we want and initiate the right cause that will bring about that effect.
A friend of mine once told me, “There is actually no such thing as failure.” I looked at him like he had lost his marbles until he explained. He said when you think you failed at something it really just means you just didn’t get the effect you were trying for. And the reason, is that you didn’t initiate the right cause to get the effect you wanted. I thought about that for a few moments and saw how right he really was. If I want a job, I have to go look for one. If I want to go drive a truck, I have to learn how to drive one first. If I try something and don’t succeed, I have to step back and try to figure out why my actions did not get the results I wanted. At the same time, there are some things I just cannot do. If I want to be a star NFL quaterback, I can’t initiate the right cause to get that effect, especially at my age and with my lack of talent. There are just some things you can’t do because you can’t create the right cause to get the desired effect.
The same holds true in a negative way. If you keep having the same problems, stop for a moment and think what you are doing or not doing that keeps leading up to that same problem. Then change your behavior. I know, sometimes that is easier said than done. But the principle is still valid.
Problems Caused By People
Sometimes our problems are caused by other people. This is a harder one to deal with. If you can avoid the person causing the problem, do so. There is nothing wrong with that. Even Christ did that with some of the people in His day. But what if you can’t avoid the person? What if you are married to them, or have to work with them? AHA! Remember what I said at the beginning of this article? The bumps are what you climb on. This is where personal growth really, and I mean really, takes place if you are up to the challenge. There are so many different types of situations this could involve and so many different factors which can come into play here, it is impossible to give any specific answers. However, here is something to keep in mind. Christ dealt with problem people a number of times. Study His reactions. Imitate them. But first, try to see why the other person is acting the way they are. There is a reason. They do have a motive. Try to understand it, before you try to solve the problem you are having with them.
Problems Caused By Circumstances
One of the most difficult areas of problem solving involves problems arising from our circumstances. Sometimes we get into hot water because of our own actions. In that case, we need to make sure we learn from our mistakes and don’t repeat them. Most circumstancial problems we face however, are problems over which we seem to have no control. Sometimes they can be solved. At other times, they simply cannot be. It oftens helps to discuss a problem with a friend or counselor. We all have our blindside. That is when another person can sometimes help us simply because they can see the problem from a different perspective. They can see things we can’t see in our lives and situation. Other times, there are some circumstances we just have to endure. I have a friend with MS. The only part of his body is his head and right foot. Do you think he sits around in his wheelchair all day feeling helpless? No way! He has earned a couple of degrees in Web Design and has his own web design company. He has a special computer mouse he operates with his right foot and a special attachment which makes his computer “speak” the words he types into his computer. He has a computer game in the works he wants to market. He emails me regularly about ideas he comes up with for the web design work we sometimes do together. When life handed him a lemon, he didn’t just make lemonade, he is looking to become a lemonade tycoon.
The point is this. When you find yourself in a circumstance where it looks like there is no solution at the present, don’t sit there and mope about it. Either God will bring about a solution in His own time or show it to you at a later date. If seems to be something to be endured for a while, get busy doing what you can with other areas of your life. God has given us all both talents and spiritual gifts. Get busy exercising these and see what happens. Keep plugging away at what you’re good at. Keep putting one foot ahead and going forward is some direction. Keep accomplishing something every day, no matter how small. And remember; there is a reason for everything even though you may not see it this side of Heaven.