by Fr. Rodney Kneifl
Have you ever looked at the front cover of a 1000 piece puzzle and thought, "I must put this beautiful picture together"? When the time comes to open the puzzle box and we begin to sort out the pieces, we realize that this will not fit together as quickly as a child's five piece game. We usually begin by looking for difference of color, shape, or size and the border pieces to start the building process on the table. Almost every person begins to pray for patience about 5 minutes - into the puzzle process. This is going to take longer than we thought.
Healing at Different Speeds
Some hurts in a person's life are so large and they are so many strings attached to a situation, like the pieces of a 1000 part puzzle; it takes a while for Jesus to convince us of His way and style of bringing about total cure.
A change of the way of life, the way we speak, act, or live is a turning toward the kingdom. A form of healing begins because we desire to return to the Kingdom of Jesus' love. It can be hurtful to leave that old lifestyle and the darkness that was so familiar to our life.
There is great light and love from Jesus when we give up blaming everyone else for our troubles, acceptance of our brokenness and even asking Jesus to love those areas of our lives that have not been loved for so long. Jesus is also ready to release us from the bondage that keeps us in this way of darkness, blame, and difficulty. Jesus can literally heal us in the blink of an eye. All that Jesus does is always in accord with the Father's love and will; that the best may be done for each one of us. Jesus Christ the Redeemer came as a helpless infant. He wanted to be like one of us.
Five Ways God Uses Problems
The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us depending on how we respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in our lives. Here are five ways God wants to use the problems in our lives:
1. God uses problems to DIRECT us. Sometimes God must light a fire under us to get us moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get our attention? "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
2. God uses problems to INSPECT us. People are like tea bags If you want to know what's inside then, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about us? "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" (James 1:2-3).
3. God uses problems to CORRECT us. Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something by losing it. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes" (Psalm 119:72).
4. God uses problems to PROTECT us. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents us from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem, but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management's actions were eventually discovered. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good" (Genesis 50:20 ).
5. God uses problems to PERFECT us. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things we're going to take with us 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" (Romans 5:3-4).
Here's the point: God is at work in our lives – even when we don't recognize it or understand it. But it's so much easier when we surrender to his plan for our life.
It is never easy going through life's hurts and difficulties. There are many ways that Jesus will bring a conclusion to the brokenness. Jesus has good ears; He can hear even the tiniest whisper in our heart, that we need help. He honors that deep request from within. Take the first step and bring your pain to Him. We have nothing to fear from Him. Jesus is good at healing. "They carried to Him all those afflicted with various diseases and racked with pain: the possessed, the lunatics, the paralyzed. He cured them all" (Matthew 4:24).
Jesus knows how to handle all the pieces in our lives. From the Archives - SF Spirit - November 2004.