Some problems are our fault – the results of poor choices.
Some problems are just a part of being human. These things happen to everyone on some level or another.
And some problems are a “gift” from God, provided by Him so that we can make needed adjustments and advancements in our character.
I believe that we can grow through each of these types of problems. Here’s how:
Embrace the problem. No matter how hard we fight, we cannot be problem-free. Learn to accept the inevitability of difficulties. Now, maybe if your problem is self-inflicted, you can learn a lesson and avoid making the same mistake in the future, thereby avoiding a resulting difficulty. But the expectation that our lives will be devoid of problems is immature thinking. Without becoming a pessimist, learn to expect challenges in life. You can’t reach the mountaintop without a difficult climb!
Ask the right questions. The typical first question most people ask when faced with a problem is, “why?” “Why is this happening to me?” I think a better question is, “what?” “What is God telling me?” “What do I need to learn?” “What benefit is there to be derived from this situation that will make me a better and stronger person?” “What will I think about this experience, once it is over?” Asking the right questions at the right time will result in more wisdom gained though experiencing the problem. Make it a goal to learn as much as possible through every problem you experience.
Look for someone else to benefit. As much as we’d like to think it is, it’s not all about us. Many of the struggles I experience are, directly or indirectly, an opportunity to assist someone else. The lesson that I learn, the information I pick up, or the strength that I gain most certainly can make a positive difference in the life of someone near me. If I go through problems staying focused only on myself, two things happen: I increase my self-centeredness and the needs of others go unmet. The next time you’ve run head-on into a big problem, look around – not to see if someone is watching – but rather to see who you can help.
We’ll never be problem-free. So we might as well get good at dealing with problems. And just maybe, how we deal with problems will be part of the criterion that God uses to reward us once our lives are over. In the end, I want to hear God say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Not, “Well, you’re done!”