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  • Writer's pictureJim Donaher

One Way to View Problems

Lord, bless all of who are suffering with problems of all shapes and sizes. You give us nothing we cannot handle, but the enemy is always in our ears, telling us we don’t matter to You. That You don’t care, or else why would You allow such misery on Your children?

Let us be constantly aware that You are shaping us, refining us, perfecting us. That You allow struggles not to harm us, but to build us up. To strengthen our character, our faith, our dependence on You. If You lead us to a situation, faith tells us You will lead us through it, and we will be stronger on the other side of the problem.

We all have our sins and shortcomings and it is usually through these that our struggles are intensified. Whether pride or greed or envy or lust or gluttony or anger or laziness, these fundamental sins open up our vulnerability to problems and struggles and scandal and seemingly inescapable traps.

I remember when I was a kid, there was a cartoon ‘Tooter the Turtle’ where a wizard grants the short-sighted turtle his wish, and then has to rescue him from the unexpected consequences of his fervent desires. It was a fun cartoon, but underlines a serious message. We are a lot like Tooter with our behavior, whether impulsive, or ill-considered or intentionally wrong. We chase something and then scream for help when we reach a dead-end or worse.

You grant us the freedom to choose, and You give us the direction to help us navigate. But You don’t force us to follow. You are simply fair and impartial and allow us to make mistakes if that is what needs to happen. You always forgive us, no matter what foolish choices we make, or what wrong intentions we may have.

You want us to figure it all out. You rejoice when we make right choices, following Your direction, doing Your will. And You discipline and correct us when we choose poorly, disobey and ignore Your direction. This is what a loving father does. Unfortunately, He has to, as His children are, by nature, rebellious.

Like the best fathers, You will forgive. We take this gift for granted, but it comes from the love that You are, that truly absolves us of whatever wrong we do, as long as we acknowledge it, apologize for it and try our best not to do it again.

But what if we do it again? You forgive again. What if we do it 500 times, or 5,000 or 5,000,000? You forgive 500 or 5,000 or 5,000,000 times. Your mercy and grace have no limits. You want us to come back to You no matter how we sin or how far we stray from You. We cannot adequately grasp how boundless this mercy is. Because we all have limits on our mercy. Some have very low limits.

Lord, I am, as always, humbled by the insights You share with me during our time together each day. And by the words You give me, to understand myself better and to share with others who are, like me, seeking to embrace the opportunity You give us to be better than we are, and to embark on the eternal quest to be with You, and to be like Your son, Jesus Christ. I love You!

In Jesus’s name, I pray, AMEN!

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