We will never be without problems yet we need never be without a solution.
Shakespeare said it this way: “Sorrows (problems) come not single spies, but in battalions.” Another truism attests: The harder I try the behinder I get. And a still familiar lament from a past television series puts these words to verse: “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”
Needless to say, perhaps we have all been there at one time or another; but we need never be without a solution.
All problems come from one of four sources. We will look at these over the next several sessions because knowing the source of the problem will point us to the solution.
First. Let’s look at something new I apply to problem solving. I call it:
The Rule of Proportion
This rule directs attention to the number of times an event occurs in Scripture. That is, how many times do we see this type of thing being the source of problems?
This study is an eye-opener in that it leads us to the real source of problems. By knowing this we will ultimately spend less fruitless, frustrating time trying to solve shadow problems.
A shadow problem is a problem that exists due to a false idea as to what the problem may be. This comes about when tying a problem to a wrong assumption as to the cause of the problem.
The Four Sources of Problems
Yes, God can be the source of some of our problems; but how many times in the Bible do we find God actually causing our problems?
In attempting to answer many people first suggest Job, but this is not an illustration of God personally touching Job with these afflictions. True, there is a fine line here, but God did not touch him directly as we see Job’s plight unfold. Note that in the following episode God was instrumental in this man’s plight – but for a reason.
Following is the only incident I am aware of, and I am open for correction, and is found in John 9:1-3:
“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of god should be made manifest in him.”
The balance of this passage tells how Jesus anointed the man’s eyes, sent him to the pool to wash them, and after which that he gained his sight.
According to the Rule of Proportion, there are no other recorded incidences (I am aware of) where God directly brought a problem upon a person – except in this unusual incident before the man was born – for His own purpose.
God then, I conclude, is the least source of our problems.
Scripture does speak frequently of God chastening those He loves, but this is more the consequence of our own actions and not His unprovoked initiative.
If we are not being built up by a trial or testing we need to look elsewhere for the source of the problem.
Rest assured, if God did put something on us – so to speak; it would be consistent with His desire to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus the Christ not as an undeserved punishment or hardship.
Problems are often made more difficult because we immediately blame God as the Source of problem rather than the Source of our help and deliverance.
Next time: Source Two | Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth
Rev. Thomas (Tom) C. Lacy, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and Founder and Director, of New Hope Counseling Service.