Why Do Christians Have Problems?

by Carey Scott
from an outline by Donnie S. Barnes

If everything is supposed to work out for our good, why do we still have problems? After all, does Romans 8:28 tell us that all things work out for good to those who love the Lord? Then why do faithful Christians have problems?

Rejections, defeats, and failures that all of us have experienced can create enough negative feelings to destroy us. Be careful! Often the most painful wounds are not the scars that are outwardly seen, but the hidden wounds deep in the heart. Being hidden, they are often the most dangerous.

Setbacks in our lives can take the joy out of living. Our faith is weakened, and if we collect enough hurts it will stop us from wanting to press forward. Even success can make one the target of criticism. Do not let hurts hurt you. Matthew 13:19-22 is where Jesus explains the parable of the soils (or parable of the sower) to His disciples. These soil conditions explain in detail why we have problems.

The problem of falling away is not new to Christianity. In fact, it’s an age-old problem. Sadly, many who started with Christ have left him and returned to the world. Often leading the way are life’s problems. Satan uses these problems to keep us from doing what God would have us do. God never promised us that we would be problem-free in this life.

Problems and trials come in three ways.

  • We cause the problems. “Make every effort to come to me soon. For Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia” (II Timothy 4:10).
  • People cause problems. “Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
  • Circumstances cause problems. A riot in Ephesus threatened Paul’s life (Acts 19).

People react to problems in four ways.

  • We cover-up.  “If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8).
  • We shut up. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
  • We give up. “I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
  • We overcome. Revelation, as seen in chapters 2-3.

Victory over problems is achieved in three ways.

  • Instead of covering up, grow up. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
  • Instead of shutting up, speak up. “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
  • Instead of giving up, stand up. “Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:16-18).

Stan Toler said, “Many of life’s failures occur when we are close to success.” Sometimes failures occur after you have had success. Do you remember when the space shuttle blew up during lift-off? After a very long investigation, they determined that a small piece of rubber (an o-ring) failed. This one little problem led to other problems for which the shuttle was not designed to handle.

In II Kings 6:8-23, the King of Aram (Syria) was making war against Israel and surrounded Dothan to capture Elisha. Elisha’s servant saw a great army and warned his master. “Elisha said, ‘Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘LORD, please open his eyes and let him see’” (II Kings 6:16-17). What that servant saw was a massive host of fighters that must have been awesome to see. The mighty host blinded the Syrians and Elisha led them to Samaria, where he fed them and sent them on their way.

Never close your eye of faith to all the help God has surrounded you with. Often we have been helped by God, and not even realized it. “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4).  “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

May we open our eyes of faith and see the resources God has made available to us. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13). “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

God has given us the tools we need to stand up. In fact, God has given us everything we need to stand.  “Seeing that His Divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (II Peter 1:3).  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).

By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires" (II Peter 1:4). Perhaps God is ready and willing to help in ways we have never dared to hope. Perhaps we have never had the faith to let God help us. It is time to build up that faith. Are you ready to get started?

Another problem we have is that we fail to see the positive in things that are negative. We do not understand why God would tell us that all things work for good when our loved ones and fellow members get diseases and have health problems. Why do good people die in auto accidents? This is just the way of life. We do not understand why good people suffer at the hands of evil people when God said he cares for them all.

The problems of this life remind us that there is something better in store for us, and that is where we need to place our focus. We are humans and we will suffer the ills of all humanity. What God means in Romans 8:28 is that our souls will be guarded and protected, and our hope will be secure. So do not fear the problems, but learn to appreciate them. Remember James 1:2-4 tells us to consider it joy when we suffer because if we can overcome, it will develop us to greater service to God.

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