Wasteland Kings

While keeping with the overall topic of need, we’re switching to a discussion about major problems and struggles. Some of our biggest needs come from the problems we face or the sins that steal our joy and peace. Most of us, myself included, would say our biggest need in these situations is for the problem or struggle to end.

I’ve faced a few figurative mountains, struggles or problems, in my life and there always comes a point where I want to give up. At these points, something has drained my strength and I don’t believe I can make it to the end. Stopping seems like a better idea than continuing to push on; my desire for the pain to end overlooks the opportunity staring me in the face though.

These moments of frustration and exhaustion offer the best opportunities to acknowledge my need for God and invite Him into what I’m facing.

Most of the time, I ask God to make the problem stop instead of inviting Him into the struggle. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a problem to end, what I do next is a real problem. When God doesn’t fix the struggle or problem, I try to find a solution on my own; this often looks like a mixture of attempted ignorance and a coping mechanism.

Those coping mechanisms can look pretty ugly too; I used pornography and codependency to numb the pain in my life for years. My solutions turned into addictions and become problems in their own right. Our way of dealing with problems creates a downward spiral instead of helping us get the healing and peace our hearts need.

Even with this knowledge, I still hold back from inviting God into our problems. Part of my motivation comes from bitterness towards God. I get frustrated with Him for not fixing my problem immediately and don’t want to ask for His help in walking through a problem He could easily fix.

The best way to combat bitterness comes from trust. If I can trust in God’s love and that He wants what’s best for me, the bitterness will fade or decrease. To accomplish this, I look back on what God has done in my life up till this point.

In other words, I look at His track record.

For starters, I look at what Jesus did on the cross. That act of sacrifice makes it clear God cares about me and my afflictions. Looking at the cross alone can feel a little impersonal though; I also look back at the other mountains God helped me climb.

God delivered me from pornography, codependency, and depression. He also protected me from a dozen other addictions that could have enslaved me. Thinking back on those victories replenishes my trust in God, causes the bitterness to fade, and makes me want to invite Him into my current problem.

Once I have the desire to invite God into a problem, a whole new world opens up. The mountain in front of me becomes something I’ll tackle with someone who cares about me. Furthermore, it makes the impossible become possible because I’ve got the help of an all-powerful God.

My new perspective on the problem is not even the best part though. I also get a greater trust in God and a deeper relationship with Him; that’s priceless. The more often we invite God into a problem and experience His help, the more often we’ll want to get His help with other things in life.

In my few years on this world, I’ve learned relationships offer the greatest kind of wealth. My relationship with God continues to outshine all the other incredible relationships I’ve experienced. Each time I invite God into a struggle, that relationship grows richer and more valuable.

I’ve gone through some tough times in my life and I asked God for them to end many times. Looking back, I can see at least part of the reason He didn’t make them end. Taking me out of those struggles or problems would have taken away the opportunity for us to grow closer.

What problems or struggles are you facing in your life right now? Have you invited God into them and asked Him to walk through them with you? Could you do that with one problem, big or small, this week?

Image Copyright: Public Domain

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Matthew Rial