The problems I face will either defeat me or develop me--depending on how I respond to them. Unfortunately, I mostly fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in my life, and I certainly fail to see the Grace provided in these problems. I react foolishly and resent my problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.
Here are five Graces God may have given in the problems I experience in my life:
1. God permits problems to DIRECT me. Sometimes God must light a fire under me to get me moving. Problems often point me in a new direction and motivate me to change. Is God allowing this situation to get my attention?
"Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways" Pr 20:30
2. God permits problems to INSPECT me. People are like tea bags ... if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested my faith by allowing a problem or two into my life? What do problems reveal about me?
"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." Jm 1:2-3
3. God uses problems to CORRECT me. Some lessons I learn only through pain and failure. I probably learned by being burned. Sometimes I only learn the value of something ... health, money, a relationship ... by losing it.
"It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws." Ps 119:71-72
4. God permits problems to PROTECT me. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents me from being harmed by something more serious. I only find out how worse things could have been.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good"... Gen 50:20
5. God permits problems to PERFECT me. Problems, when I respond to them correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in my character than my comfort. My relationship to God and my character are the only two things I'm going to take with me 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." Rom 5:3-4
When I fully integrate this, I see problems as a Grace, and the way out as a Grace too.
Grace, it's in the problems.