A lot of everyday problems we encounter – are they really problems? The wrong item delivered, a small disagreement, an appliance not working. Obviously, they don’t make your day. When I look back on my life, I think this pretty well describes me before, say, age 25.
There are a number of difficult times that have happened since then,
With either type of trial, we can give thanks that we trust in God who is much bigger than our problems.
A book I have mentioned before on this site is Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart (affiliate link). A huge problem was before her, and God got her through it. It wasn’t all happy endings or promises a perfect life afterwards. But it was everyday testimony to her heart that whatever worries may be before her, that God would be with her and sustain her. I read it after one of my big, big problems: my husband’s heart attack.
My husband was working on the roof at our house and came down with a lot of pain. It was clear something was happening, but it wasn’t clear at the time that it was a heart attack. My husband is a wonderfully expressive person, and I thought that he might have been overreacting. Well, after a few hours at the emergency room, it turns out that he had a significant heart attack. His “widow maker” artery was 100% blocked. It was a miracle that he survived.
I was by myself at home for a few hours that first night, trying to sleep. I remember worrying about the medical procedures that lie ahead the next day. I remember fretting about unknown co-pays – we had just switched our plans and I didn’t know what it covered. I remember trying not to lose my lunch over considering all the unknowns. I am a woman with a plan, so all these unknowns were killing me. I wish I could give you a nice testimony of how I turned to God and felt His peace. But I did turn to God and He gave me enough strength for that moment, to get a little sleep, and to get to the hospital that morning early enough to enjoy a sunrise with my husband. There were complications that day, and God got us through that, too.
What this and other big, big problems have done for me is to grow my trust in God. I am following along on a Bible Study right now from Moms in Prayer called Igniting Hope, and the study today was talking about trusting in God. This must have been such a God-thing because I started this article yesterday without being completely clear on the direction. But trust so perfectly sums up what God is working on me through these problems. He doesn’t love or cause these problems in my life, but He does allow them and He will use them.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
As someone who greatly values peace, but doesn’t find it without God, you can better believe that I appreciate that God does not have plans for my calamity. He has plans for my welfare. He will give me a future and a hope. I believe this. I also believe that some of these plans will not be fulfilled on this side of heaven. But since my life here on earth isn’t the end of the story, I don’t have to put all my trust for the future on having a trouble-free present.
I showed my husband an earlier article from this website and he remarked that he saw how the pain and problems from this year has really shaped me to help others. Our big, big problems can have the benefit of helping others through similar trials. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Maybe you won’t emerge from a big, big problem with a sparkling testimony. Maybe it will have times of doubt, anger, and giving up. But don’t overlook the fact that you got through it. That, in itself, is something huge that you can praise God for! God brought you through something you didn’t think you could withstand.
Perhaps you haven’t emerged from a long-lasting big, big problem. Maybe you have to keep bearing it. God will provide the strength you need even when you don’t think you can do it. Trust in the Word of God, in the promises He made to us over and over again in the Bible. They are trustworthy because He is trustworthy.
One last word about big, big problems. Some problems are easy to see and understand, and others that are more difficult and less relatable to others. The easy to see ones are the ones where you get support from a large group. You are comfortable discussing it with others and even posting updates on social media. There are other trials that are discussed with only the closest of friends, for a variety of reasons. Your heart is broken and you don’t trust everyone with the shattered pieces. If you have a problem you can’t share with everyone, please find at least one person to trust who will pray with you and for you. It will make a world of difference.
May God be with you today as you face your big, big problem.