Many problems seem to have no solution. We get caught in the “Catch 22s,” which lead to endless cycles for which there seems no way out.
Not enough money, not enough energy, not enough love — all of these are spirit crushers. Holiday time seems even worse because so many around us spread good cheer but offer no real solutions.
So how can we find hope when help seems so far away? Is there a way to help ourselves when others won’t?
To have someone give us money would help. To have someone give us rest would help. To have someone give us love would help … but this is all conditional on someone else and perhaps, even if such needs were met, it may not solve the real problems at all.
The answers are, oddly enough, found in strength of spirit. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
It is our connection with the world’s conqueror that gives us any degree of hope that we, too, can conquer the troubles assaulting us, no matter how big.
Likewise, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) points out that there are no circumstances too horrible in which to rejoice or give thanks.
How is this possible? Horrible things happen, but where do we find the strength of spirit to not only overcome, but also rejoice amidst tragedy?
There is a promise God has given us that enables us to do this. This then becomes a matter of belief, of faith, that God will fulfill his promise … “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.” (Romans 8:28)
God promises that no matter how big the trouble, it will be for our good if we love and trust him. Thus, the larger the trouble, the greater the blessing for those who keep the faith. So for Christians, there is no such thing as bad luck — everything works out for our good.
No troubles, not even death, can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) In God’s point of view, our troubles are only momentary and light.
Has it ever occurred to you that troubles are a training tool? Learning how to resolve problems differentiates a small person, spiritually, from a larger person. Even in the corporate world, what separates the low-paid workers from the higher-paid managers is the ability to handle problems.
So yes, we can wait for someone else to come save us from our overwhelming troubles, or we can start by doing what we can and then trusting God to take care of the rest. I think often we reject many solutions because they are unacceptable to our sensibilities.
Often it means humbling ourselves to put forth the effort, or to go to a certain person. I can’t tell you what you should do, in particular, but recognize your pride for what it is.
People with troubles often avoid going to church. It is ironic, but that is probably the worst thing they can do, for the church is Christ’s body on this earth. That spiritual connection, the faith in God’s promises, and the fellowship with believers help give us the strength of spirit we need.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Tim Caraway is a youth prison minister at Spring Brook church of Christ in Eagle River.