Monday, May 20, 2013

What Are Problems Good For? by Martin Wiles

I was there again. Wal-Mart. Once my favorite place…but not anymore. 

We were ready to check out, but there were only a few registers open. My wife asked that horrifying question: “Want to go through the self check out?” Going through this line is always a disaster. Sure enough, every third item scanned produced a message requiring assistance.


Our bags were piling up when the attendant asked if we were making a split transaction. We were, but the machine wasn’t currently processing them. Our transaction was cancelled, and we were forced to unbag and re-check our groceries through a normal register. One hour later, we finally hustled out the door.

When assaulted by small and large dilemmas, I often wonder what problems are good for. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character (Romans 5:3-4 NLT).

Endurance-sometimes translated patience, is a virtue and a good trait for others to observe in me. But I’ve learned it’s taught not caught-and through episodes I’m usually not fond of. Like standing in line at Wal-Mart for an hour, or through dealing with a strong willed child, or by having to care for an aging parent who still thinks they’re capable of handling their affairs.

Problems and trials are beneficial because they teach me patience, and this is a spiritual fruit that should hang from my life’s branches (Galatians 5:22-23). Though it’s taken a while, God has taught me to thank him instead of complain about my problems. As promised, he continually brings some good from them that builds my character and fortifies me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Instead of running from your problems or complaining about them, let God teach you through them.

Prayer: Merciful Father, even though we may not enjoy life’s problems, we trust You to teach us truths from them and build our character with them.

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