Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Problems and the Overcoming Way

“Without that abiding consciousness of the presence and power of my dear Lord and Savior, nothing else in all the world could have preserved me from losing my reason and perishing miserably.”
— John G. Paton (1824–1907)
CHRISTIANS often wonder, how does the person who’s yet to live by ‘faith’ (a.k.a. believe in God) manage the problems presented to them in simply living their human lives?
It gets me wondering. Of course, there are the standard responses of “suck it up” (i.e. the problems of life), or “toughen up, princess.” But these responses only honour half of the truth – that life is not designed to get us down. Life, in this broken world, is designed around the ability to endure – the ‘tough-enough’ survive and those who wallow too much perish. But to deny the truth – that there is a problem – cuts us off from the abiding Presence and power of the Lord that is there, precisely, for us.
There are always problems, yet to deny them is perilous, because the law of the Lord vanquishes all lies. Lies do not survive – not ultimately.
Honing in on the problems is not the point – enduring them, somehow; now, that’s the point!
We honour the problem, for they contain the inalienable truth, yet we insist, because the gospel proves it to us, that we have the abiding Presence and power of God to not only get through them, but we will actually benefit through learning about life, growth in humility, resilience, self-control, patience, compassion and myriads of other virtue.
The gospel way has us winning on both counts.
We honour both truths: the problem and the availability of a God-designed-and-engineered solution.
When we honour both truths, we approach the wisdom of the ancients as we grapple interminably with the very tensions of life that send some into madness and many into despair. More people are in these places than our plastic world would permit us to observe. And they are only there for one reason; they honour only half of the truth.
They are either weighed down by their problems or they deny their problems.
The alternative is special, unique, and wonderful – and never more chock full of truth: problems are there to be seen and honoured, before we then seek this Presence and power of God that abides in our consciousness...
God is with us, inspiring a way through,
which we may discern by faith.
***
Those who live the gospel way – the overcoming way – are neither weighed down by their problems nor do they deny their problems. This is our living challenge. The overcoming way is about honouring two opposite truths: problems exist, yet there is a way through them all by faith.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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