Problems, Problems - Why Problems?
By Ed Delph
November 8, 2021
Two men got shipwrecked on an island. One started screaming and yelling. "We're going to die; we're going to die! There's no food, no water! We're going to die!" The second man leaned up against a palm tree so calmly that it drove the first man crazy. "Don't you understand? We're going to die! We’re going to die!” The second man replied, "You don't understand. I make 100,000 dollars a week."
The first man looked at him quite dumbfounded and asked, "What difference does that make? We got shipwrecked on an island with no food and no water. We’re going to die! We’re going to die!” The second man answered, “You just don’t get it. I make 100,000 dollars a week, and I tithe on those 100,000 dollars a week to my church. My pastor will find me!” Now, that’s what I call peace.
You might be saying, “But I don’t make $100,000 a week.” I hear you in reader-land; me neither. But I've been on that island, haven't you? Yet, here we are; we’ve made it somehow. So far, we have survived 100% of our worst days. I have found that through the good times and the not-so-good times, God is always with me. Maybe you think it was a coincidence that finally got you out of your mess. However, could it be that coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Problems, problems, why so many problems?” Did you ever think your problems and tough times could bring you closer to God and resources you would have never discovered any other way?
Here are a few quotes from sage leaders that might help you with your views concerning problems: "Problems can break up our self-sufficiency like a sledgehammer can break up concrete." "Amid the thorns, you discover the rose." “When you’re at the end of your rope, you discover God lives there.”
Proverbs 14:4 says, "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox." In other words, oxen make a mess, but that is much better than having clean stalls with no oxen. In that day and rural culture, oxen were like gold. Oxen get things done, plow the fields, produce milk, haul the crop to market - the list is long. One trip to India will convince you of the value of oxen.
Where there is life, there will be unwanted 'stuff' from time to time. But if there is no manure – there's no milk. It's a fact of life. The only place where everything is perfect and in order is a graveyard. You’ve seen that bumper sticker with the four-letter word that starts with ‘s’ and ends in ‘t’? Well, that "stuff happens.” But it also means that “life happens.”
Why not use the manure for growing, not groaning? Too many of us think the light at the end of the tunnel is a train! Some of us, after so many manure experiences, feel like the guy who went to get his brakes fixed, and the mechanic said, “I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder!” Pain in life is inevitable, but misery is optional.
The key to life is to enjoy the good times and learn to grow during those not-so-good times. The bad times in life may produce something extraordinary, even miraculous later. That manure grows the grass that the oxen eat to produce…milk! Yes, manure happens, stalls get dirty, but at least you’re alive, and most likely, this too shall pass. Got milk?
There’s a way to go from pieces to peace in the ship-wrecked-on-an-island-times of your life. Here it is. Mastered by God, you can control how you react to circumstances, people, and calamity. Mastered by anything less than God, you are a victim or a puppet of circumstances, people, or calamity. Amid my tough times, I like to say to myself, “I will, by my life’s choices, prove that the Word of God is true.” That brings God into the picture.
When you're up against something big, face it head-on with God by your side. That's what mentally tough David with his Goliath. He picked up his only resource, a slingshot, and five stones. The first stone he threw hit the giant Philistine right in the head, and down he went. Afterward, David said, "Goliath was easier to defeat than when I killed the lion and the bear. He was so big I couldn’t miss him.” Then David explained, "I was only trying to get ‘a-head in life.”
You see, you can go to pieces or have peace. But, life's not fair; life was never meant to be. There will be manure times and milk times in life. Deal with it, or it will deal with you. The only thing worse than dealing with manure is wishing you had.
My life’s experience reveals that God is a very present help in times of trouble, and you don’t have to make 100,000 dollars a week to secure God’s services.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com