Another wonderful thing about being a child of God is that our wonderful heavenly Father helps us to ‘grow up into Christ in all things’ Ephesians 4:15. One of the ways in which He does this is by helping us with, and guiding us through, our problems. And yes, we do all have problems, it’s part of being human and alive.
We had a wonderful friend, who had a little mantra he frequently shared with us. He would say ‘No problems no progress’. It never failed to raise a smile and lift our mood, and more recently we have heard Graham Cooke’s take on this idea, with his pretend phone call with his friend. Talking to this friend, he commiserates with him that he (the friend) doesn’t currently have any problems. He shares how excited he himself is that he now has a big one to deal with. He will pray, he says for this friend, that the Lord would bless him and send him something of a problem soon!!!
When we are children, we look to our parents to solve all our problems, and as parents of small children, we gladly take on that role. As our children grow up, however, I think that as good parents we take a more supportive role, helping our children to develop problem solving skills for themselves. Letting them solve their own problems is never easy and in fact can be very messy, but it’s a really important part of ‘letting go’ and letting them grow up.
We were looking a couple of days ago at the fact that God gives us the gift of choice, and we can see how that plays out as we look to solve the problems that come our way while we are living here on earth. As a good Father, He doesn’t magic us out of our problems, or make the problems disappear, but He does always offer His help and support. God is the great creator, nothing is too difficult for Him and we, being made in His image, have the ability to be creative and to problem solve too. Like a good parent He ‘believes’ in us to find creative solutions.
Arthur Burke writes in his book, ‘Blessing your Spirit’, ‘There is a time and place for God to lift you out of a tight spot, to rescue you….. A time and place for Him to give you favour in the eyes of people who should be your enemies. But there is a greater joy than either of those – that is the joy of discovering God’s wisdom that flows in solving problems.’ He refers to ‘the manifold wisdom of God’, from Ephesians 3:10, that is now to be displayed through the church.
The Greek word translated manifold here, actually means ‘many coloured’. I like that! For any difficult situation in which I find myself, there is a ‘many coloured’ wisdom for me, in Christ, and I can draw on that wisdom with the Holy Spirit’s help. This will bring glory to God as His wisdom flows through my life as I solve, or navigate my way through my problems. The Holy Spirit will help me to ‘think outside the box’, as I apply this Godly wisdom to a whole variety of situations.
We see this being manifested in both Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament very unconventional methods are used to win wars – have a look at Judges chapter 7 and Gideon’s God given strategy. While in the New Testament we see Jesus, time and time again, handling difficult people and situations with the utmost wisdom and ease. Have a read of Mark 12:13-34, for example and watch Jesus handling His enemies and their trick questions, it’s just brilliant!
Today we can be so, so grateful that we have a wonderful heavenly Father who is giving us the privilege of ‘growing up into Christ in all things’. We can therefore ‘give thanks’ for every problem that we have. That’s right, every problem !! Graham Cooke’s encouragement (after the phone call) is that with every problem there is a promise and provision. So we can also be grateful that there is certainly the promise of wisdom if we ask, from our God, ‘who gives generously to all without finding fault,’ James 1:5.
And as we ask with faith expressed by our thanksgiving, we can be expectant that His wisdom, the ‘pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering and without hypocrisy’, wisdom from above, James 3:17, will flow into us. A wisdom that is very different to the world’s wisdom; a wisdom that will not only help us with our problem solving, but that will bring glory to God and help us to shine as His children in a dark world.