We live in a day where everybody seems to have problems constantly. I often feel like I am surrounded by people saying, “I do not know how to adult,” while I am sitting at my desk thinking, “Well, I do.” Sure, some of this is just a Western cultured joke, but the underlying problem behind such statements is that people have issues. The reality is that, while such a statement might be exaggerated, there is some truth to it. Many people alive today are riddled with existential crises, which they bury with work and pleasure, while others make light of it with jokes. A lot of people genuinely do not have their lives together because they have problems. They are falling through the air without a parachute, and they will hit the ground and lose everything one day. But such people can still find a lifeline before everything comes crashing to the ground.
On the other hand, we may have order and structure, but we will still have problems despite keeping our lives together. Cars will break down, children will get sick, and money will be lost to poor investments. Whatever we do, big and small problems will always confront us. We do all we can to avoid problems, but “Oops,” something happened, and now there is another thing to sort out.
We often fail to realize that our problems generally stem from one major reality. We are sinners. So, if we are sinners and sin brings us problems, then surely if we can resolve the problem of sin, then we will have the resolution to all our problems? Is this possible?
The truth behind all of this is that we have been given all of the spiritual resources necessary to overcome our life problems. We can learn how to “adult.” We can overcome depression and anxiety. We can even find meaning in the monotones and inconsistencies of life. We just need to learn to instinctively turn to the rich resources we have in reading God’s Word and prayer. As we do so, our hearts will be filled with eternity, drawing a sweet line of hope right through all the problems of life.
We learn in 2 Timothy 3:16 that Scripture is sufficient for all of our spiritual needs. We can turn to the Bible when we have problems in life because the Bible is written to help us know how to live. This does not mean that the Bible will directly speak into your exact circumstances, but it will have something to say (in general) about your situation.
Unfortunately, the Bible is one of the last places people go for help today. Instead of reading God’s own advice, Christians turn to the world for help. Secular psychology is seen as a better way to cure depression, anxiety, and all manner of emotional problems. We have taught ourselves that the problem is in our brains instead of in our hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” This being true means that our deceitful hearts have convinced us that the heart itself is not the problem but the brain. Well, the brain is just a mass of cells and chemicals. Your heart (in the biblical sense) is your emotional response center. How you respond to anything in life is the outflow out of your heart.
We cannot turn to psychologists to heal our hearts. Only God can do that. He does this by replacing our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh (Ez. 36:26). When He does this, He gives us new life (Jn. 3:1-15) and expects us to live according to His ways. How do we know His ways? His ways are revealed in the Bible. Why, then, are we quick to neglect the Bible when we have problems? The Bible is sufficient to speak to our heart problems.
Our self-made problems may be because our hearts are deceitful, but what about when things are not our fault? We know that somebody else’s deceitful heart has invaded our lives, sinned against us, and given us a problem, but how is that our fault?
It might not be our own fault when somebody sins against us. But how we respond to that sin is very important. Often, we want to lash out in a burning fit of anger, wallow in bitterness and self-pity, or entertain thoughts about revenge. Instead, we must push all of this out and replace it with prayer. We know that Scripture directs us to God’s will in our problems, but prayer helps us reflect on God’s Almighty power to help us in times of trouble.
Through prayer, we have direct access to the throne of God. There we can make our petitions, ask for help, beg for His daily sustenance, and stand in awe at His awesome glory. We need to learn how to pray when we have problems. We are too quick to react with our emotions in difficult situations. Instead, we should display the fruit of the Spirit, retreat, and pray to the God of this universe who understands all that we are experiencing.
Prayer is how God shows us our dependence on Him. If He gave us the resolution to our problems or comfort without us asking for it, then we would not understand Him as well as we do. We need prayer because those hours spent at the mercy seat help us to remind us that God is the source of our blessings. We prayed for hours, and He gave us either comfort or resolution. In no way can we now say that it was by our effort that we overcame this situation. Prayer humbles us and helps us remember that God is the one who helps us in all problems, those caused by ourselves and those caused by other people.
When we take Scripture and prayer seriously, we have the framework for dealing with our problems. Since humanity is a mess of sin, there may be no resolution to your specific problems in this life.
What you can have, however, are resources to help you through those problems. There are many testimonies of men such as Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, and David Brainerd, who suffered from health problems but were drawn closer to Heaven through prayer and Bible reading. Those things direct us towards our Savior, whom we know is waiting for us in eternity.
The Bible and prayer help us reflect on eternity, where we know that our tears will all be wiped away (Rev. 21:4). This means our suffering will be over, so there will be no problems anymore. Why? Because sin has been eradicated and cannot enter the gates of Heaven. No sin means no more problems and an eternity of bliss by our Savior’s side.
Keep eternity in your heart as you strive through this life. Things may be tough for you right now, but Jesus is the One who sustains you (Col. 1:17). Do you have great anticipation to get to His heavenly throne room? Those trials and problems help you desire that throne room even more. The more desire we have for Heaven, the more we will be weaned off the ways of this world. Problems help us to focus on Heaven!
Problems are (in a certain sense) a gift from God. Let us not treat them as things we just want to go away, but as things that remind us of our frailty and our need for Jesus in eternity. I do not want to minimize your suffering and struggles. If you are struggling right now, then indeed, it is tough for you. However, you have the resources of prayer and Bible reading. Take them up and benefit from God’s direct methods for helping you. Reflect on how eternity will be problem-free. Indeed it is worth suffering in this temporary life for an eternity of joy.