Ed Beattie sent this to me a while back and I told him then I’d probably use it some time. It is from Rick Warren and is really good. If you didn’t get it from him by email, here it is…
Five Ways God Uses Problems (Rick Warren)
The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you – depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring. Here are five ways God wants to use the problems in your life:
God uses problems to DIRECT you.
Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
God uses problems to INSPECT you.
People are like tea bags… if you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot ever water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? “When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.” James 1:2-3
God uses problems to CORRECT you.
Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It’s likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something by losing it. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:72
God uses problems to PROTECT you.
A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem – but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management’s actions were eventually discovered. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” Genesis 50:20
God uses problems to PERFECT you.
Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you’re going to take with you into eternity. “We can rejoice when we run into problems… they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” Romans 5:3-4
Here’s the point: God is at work in your life – even when you don’t recognize it or understand it. But it’s so much easier when you surrender to his plan for your life.