“Why is the bus taking so long to arrive?”
“Why didn’t I charge my phone last night?”
Have you ever noticed how we can get so bothered by the smallest of problems?
Or we may be facing more complex problems that have to do with our personal lives, family, friends, or work. Perhaps we or our loved ones are ill, or we are dealing with conflict in relationships around us.
That’s when we feel like we just want to crawl back into our own little shell and mope about our problems—or hope that they will magically disappear.
But here’s something to keep in mind: The longer we allow our thoughts and emotions to simmer and plague us, the bigger our problems may seem to grow—disproportionately. Over time, it may reduce God’s power in our eyes, and make us lose sight of other important things in life.
Of course, if our problems are really small—like a phone with a flat battery or a late bus—we should just remind ourselves to stop complaining to every person we bump and stop wallowing in self-pity. We need to remember to be thankful for what we have, and stop complaining about the things we don’t.
But when our problems are bigger and more complex, it can be harder to avoid being overwhelmed.
Here’s three steps I’ve found that have worked for me:
1. Share the load
Most of us know how and when to console others when they are hurting. But when we’re the ones placed in a distressing situation, we forget to seek support and comfort from others. We forget that our friends are always ready to console us too.
Maybe it’s time we open up and share. God created man for interaction and relationships, so that we can share our load with one another. We can comfort others and receive comfort, just as we receive comfort from God (2 Corinthians 1:4). The great king David did not hesitate to go to his close friend Jonathan when he was troubled, and Jesus too asked His disciples to be with Him in His last moments.
So don’t feel like you need to walk alone in your problems: confide in a close friend, a mentor, or someone who can encourage you or give you advice. Take time to commit your problems to the Lord together, and pray together today.
2. Remind yourself
Problems can be really painful and difficult to bear, but they can also grow our character and draw us closer to God. Even though we may not know why they happen, we can take some comfort in the knowledge that they will produce perseverance in us. Crises can teach us valuable lessons, such as learning to let go of our doubts and worries, and to trust in God.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation, hold on to the promise that while the going may be tough now, you will emerge from it stronger and better, just as gold is tested by fire. And remember that God will not allow you be tested beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
That’s why the Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).
3. Go to God
If you find yourself asking, “Why isn’t there someone who knows just how I feel?” or “Where is the light at the end of this tunnel?”, remember that God holds all the answers. He understands our every struggle and our every thought, and He is fully aware of our limitations.
Perhaps it can be hard to hold on to this truth—it’s one thing to know it, and another thing to actually believe in it. But just as we believe that we were saved by God’s grace, we need to remind ourselves that we believe in all-powerful, all-loving God who can help us through the toughest times and deliver us in His way and in His time.
Ultimately, we will not be spared from difficulties in our lives on earth. But we know that we have a God who cares for us. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
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