Most of the Time Problems are Good!

by Michael Corthell

Our lives are a series of problem solving opportunities! 

The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us, that is depending on how we respond to them — either with a positive or negative mindset. One of the best things we can do beyond having a positive mindset is to not 'self-create' problems.

Be positive always, and love the good and the bad,
for it is life and we are to learn from every experience.

In one of Norman Vincent Peale's stories, he shares his thoughts on this topic. One day, Dr. Peale was walking in New York City when a man he knew stopped him to talk about his problems. He talked about how he was becoming overwhelmed by his business and personal problems.

Dr. Peale listened and then said, ''I know a place where no one has any problems.'' The man became very interested and asked, ''Where is this place?'' Dr. Peale, said, ''In the Bronx, in the Woodlawn Cemetery.'' 

Problems are a good thing, because it means you are alive.

Yes, problems may trouble us, but without them we wouldn't truly be alive and learning.

Problems bring us back to God, the source of life, hope and strength. It seems like when all is going well, we tend to rely on our own strength, power and wisdom. We become comfortable, complacent and may even stop talking to God.

When troubles come our way and become difficult to manage, we seek help, comfort and resolution; we cry out to God as psalmist King David does in Scripture. It's only natural and it does generate wisdom.

Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.

God uses problems to direct you to the path you must take. God often lights a fire under us to get our attention and get us moving in the right direction. Problems will point us in a new direction and in turn motivate us to change. 

He also uses life's problems to:

Inspect you. People are indeed just like teabags; if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water. Has God ever tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you?

Correct you. Some lessons we can only learn through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child you were told not to touch a hot stove, but you probably learned by being burned. And very often we learn the value of something; health, money, or a relationship by losing it.

Protect you. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being hurt by something more serious. I recently heard a story about a person being fired for refusing to do something unethical that their boss asked them to do. Their unemployment was a problem, but it did saved that person from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when his boss actions were uncovered.

Perfect you. Problems and difficulties, when responded to correctly, build our characters. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God, love and your character are the only three things you're going to take with you into eternal existence.

Knowing all this we can be happy when difficulties arise because they help us to learn to be patient, and patience develops strength of character in us, and this helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.

Bottom line: God is on our side and is truly at work in our lives, even when we don't recognize or understand it. However, it is much easier and profitable when we cooperate with Him!


Navi Radjou: Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits

Navi Radjou has spent years studying "jugaad," also known as frugal innovation. Pioneered by entrepreneurs in emerging markets who figured out how to get spectacular value from limited resources, the practice has now caught on globally. Peppering his talk with a wealth of examples of human ingenuity at work, Radjou also shares three principles for how we can all do more with less.