Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
Yep. Filipinos know a thing or two about dealing with problems. First, it is Metro Manila becoming a lake, and then it is Manny Pacquiao stuck in flood stricken Baguio while training! We all confront problems: spouse leaves, no job, home won’t sell, finances fizzle, no retirement, bad health…put your problem on the list. We all face them. They arrive in all shapes, sizes, and intensity.
The Apostle Peter gave advice about dealing with problems that pummel our life. He wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:16, 7).
Consider the purpose
Let me pluck out some principles. The first is purpose and meaning. Viktor Frankl (1905-1907) was a famous psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor and founder of a psychotherapy called, “Logotherapy.” His famous book is Man’s Search for Meaning. His idea is that if we can discover meaning in even the most ugly and painful of our circumstances, we can fortify ourselves with purpose to go on living. That’s Peter’s point.
Peter said Christians should expect tough pressures and problems in life. The purpose, he wrote, is for the “proof” (purification) of our Christian Faith. Peter illustrates by the picture of gold being purified by fire.
The idea, then, is that when Christians collide with problems, figure your way through, look to and trust God, and as you wade through to the other side, your faith in a loving heavenly Father will be extremely stronger. Present problems hurt, but God still loves you, and wants a closer, trusting relationship with you. The ultimate end is great reward in the next life, and better understanding, contentment, meaning, and coping strategies in this life. God has not abandoned you, but is teaching you.
Another potent principle is patience. Staying power. Endurance. It is easy to give up when things begin to fall apart. Don’t. Anyone can give up. But, the winners in life keep going. After all, when Manny gets hit, he doesn’t stop in the ring and start crying! No! He keeps going, and hits back even harder. Now, sometimes you need to step back awhile, rest, recuperate, but get up and back into the struggle of life.
Consider the plan
You may need to make adjustments. Setbacks happen. Plans and hopes can be wiped out like a landslide crushing a mountain village. Reassess your situation. Note how your faith has grown. Figure out a way around your obstacles, and lay down fresh plans based on your new situation, resources, opportunities, and what you have learned from God.
Remember, anybody can quit. But, you are not just anybody. Christians are somebody. You are a child of God, and the object of His loving grace. You are not defeated. You are growing. Finally, to find out how to become a Christian, visit Esmie’s and my website. We will walk you through.
Dr. Newman is married to Esmie, a Filipina, and teaches at Faith Evangelical Seminary, Tacoma. Their website, www.Bible-teaching-about.com, includes an online Bible academy, free Bible studies, and affordable ebooks. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scripture from the New American Standard Bible, © the Lockman Foundation, 1960-73, used by permission.
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