We all have the same problems

Written by Charles Ekong

22/01/2024

It occurred to me recently that we all have the same problems. It’s obvious when you think about it, but it’s equally easy to forget that we aren’t the first to go through whatever challenges we’re experiencing. Someone else faced, or will face, every problem we’ll encounter in our lifetime [Ecclesiastes 1:9]. That should be a comforting fact, and it should also mean that every subsequent generation should be better at handling life’s challenges because they have more data about what works and what doesn’t. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case in many circumstances. I can think of a couple of reasons many fail to leverage the experiences of others, such as hubris and ignorance. But I want to believe that desperation and self-preservation are great incentives to seek tried and tested solutions. However, it seems some never get there. 

Faith in Jesus makes no allowance for despair. Moreover, it would be cruel for God to promise us an abundant life with peace and joy and then permit challenges with no solutions to frustrate us. The Bible teaches that hope is indispensable to faith and then mandates faith as a way of life for every believer [Hebrews 11:1, 2 Corinthians 5:7]. Since hope and hopelessness cannot co-exist, I must believe God has the requisite solutions to my problems, even if I don’t, and He’s willing to help me. That’s one of the reasons I write these blogs. Honestly, I’d struggle to immerse myself in a belief system which offered no practical solutions for my problems in the here and now. I understand that my lifetime compared to eternity is infinitesimal, but I still want great experiences in my earth walk as a consolation to my faith. Furthermore, few would choose a life plagued with insurmountable challenges if an alternative was available. As such, I’m delighted that my Bible says Yahweh daily loads us with benefits, and they include practical solutions to my challenges [Psalm 68:19, Psalm 103:1-5].

So, the first good news is that there are profitable solutions to our present and future challenges. Jesus was unequivocal: “In this world, we’ll face challenges” [John 16:33]. Therefore, problems shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, He added: “But cheer up, I’ve overcome the world”, implying we’ll also overcome the world if we do what He says [Romans 8:37, 1 John 5:4-5]. Logically, solutions must exist to our problems if we’re overcomers, and they do, but it’s our responsibility to identify and apply them. Sadly, many of us abdicate this responsibility and consequently pay the price [Hosea 4:6, Ephesians 4:18]. 

It’s worth stressing that all solutions aren’t profitable in the long run; some will cost us more than they’re worth. God desires we prosper as our souls prosper [3 John 1:2]. So, we can guarantee that His solutions, infinitely superior to any alternatives, are good, perfect and beneficial to us in every way [James 1:17]. But expect the devil, the world system or our flesh (mind) to present disastrous alternatives. Therefore, discernment is paramount [Hebrews 5:14], especially around the impact the ideas we adopt have on our souls. If the flesh is unprofitable, how can its solutions be profitable in the long term [John 6:63]? If the world system opposes God [James 4:4], how can its solutions be profitable? If Satan is the father of lies [John 8:44], how can his solutions lead to anything good for us? Clearly, the flesh, the world and the devil don’t seek God’s glory or the flourishing of our souls.

The second good news is that God always brings us in contact with people who can help us navigate our challenges. Scripture says: “Follow them who through faith and patience obtained what God promised” [Hebrews 6:12]. Logically, if God instructs us to follow them, there must be a “them” for us to emulate, or God is asking us to do something impossible, which would be unjust. However, it’s our responsibility to identify, submit and learn from those who have overcome the challenges we’re facing God’s way. That can be tough because of the complexities of human relationships. However, there’s a biblical principle worth remembering when dealing with people whose blessing, assistance, wisdom or experience we need: The higher blesses the lower [Hebrews 7:7]. That was the case with Elijah and Elisha, Melchizedek and Abraham, Paul and Timothy and many others. That blessing typically happens on the terms of the greater person, provoked by the submission and honour of the lesser

Sometimes, we miss lessons from Jesus’s life because we often focus on His divinity to the detriment of His humanity. Yet, He’s the greatest of the great ones we can learn from. For a time, He lived under the sun and wasn’t exempt from the challenges common to men [Hebrews 4:14]. Consequently, He faced spiritual, religious, political and even financial challenges like us. He had family and relationship issues. Sometimes, others also brought Him their problems. Yet, Jesus was never flustered, and His solutions were indomitable because they came from the Father [John 5:19, John 12:49]. The Father has equipped believers with everything we need to overcome life’s challenges [Ephesians 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3-4]. So, while we’ll experience the same challenges as unbelievers, our outcomes can and should be different because we can access unconquerable solutions if we desire them.

You’re probably facing a challenge or about to experience one. Do you want God’s solutions, or are you happy to adopt any solutions that seem right to you [Proverbs 14:12]? Many want God’s solution but on their own terms. That won’t happen, unfortunately. But if, like Jesus, we seek the Father’s face (not His hands) because we want to see His kingdom come and His will done in whatever we’re going through, He’ll meet us at our points of need [Hebrews 11:6].

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