Dealing With Problems
I know you have heard the saying "DON'T JUDGE PEOPLE UNTIL YOU WALK IN THEIR SHOES". We know that doesn't excuse evil behavior and certainly is not a license to commit crimes or break laws, but there certainly is merit in considering that thought. I know every morning when I get up and again when I go to bed what MY problems are, financial, health, job, family etc. But I don't know what others are facing unless they tell me. So I do need to be very careful in understanding that other people may be facing tremendous problems, yet they manage to give me a smile and a handshake, as if nothing is wrong.
People all around us are facing various problems. Most of mine right now are health related. Some others are in a bad marriage situation. Some have been deeply hurt by other family members by being estranged for some reason or another. Many have children who have left the truth for the lie of the world. Many problems like these hurt deep, much more so than losing a job or having money problems, although those too are stressful situations we face from time to time.
In many of these situations, there are things we can do to better if not remedy them, while some of these issues leave little or no room for us to influence the situation. Aside from fervent prayer, sometimes there is little we can actually do, and we just have to live patiently every day just like the father of the prodigal son, praying that his lost loved one would come home, or that they will open the door back up that they have slammed closed for whatever reason.
None of us are perfect, and sometimes we've done something that "caused" the situation while having no idea we were the problem. Other times, we have made every effort to do what was right, and that wasn't what the other party perceived as the proper thing to do, so they blame us. Other times still, we have failed to do things we maybe should have, not knowing what to do at the time, and maybe not even knowing there was a problem festering. Yet, right or wrong, they have laid that blame at our feet.
Or maybe we are the ones who have been harmed or done the blaming, and it's way past time to forgive and forget. The older I get, the more I understand that forgiveness is not so much for the offender as it is for the one offended. I can't change what people do to me, but I certainly can change how I respond to it, and whether or not I allow it to consume me. Perhaps it's way past time to make that decision to let go, because we can fix that one!
Either way, we always have one thing going for us, regardless of our position, regardless of our problem, regardless of our degree of anxiety or hopelessness, and that is that we are never truly hopeless. God is always there. Prayer is powerful and effective and God hears. God may not provide total relief to the problem, but He may provide patience and comfort for us to deal with it. Prayer is sometimes drastically underestimated, because God's answer is not always the same as our request, but that doesn't mean He refuses to help.
In James 5:14, James tell us "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray! Then James tells these same Christians to call for the elders of the church to pray over the sick. Elders are just human men, whose prayers don't go any higher than anyone else's, but the process of involving these faithful men demonstrates the faith of the one calling for the elders. These men can then provide support, and will certainly utter many additional prayers on behalf of the one requesting. In this process, Christians are reminded that we have a spiritual family to help us navigate the waters in troubled times, and that prayers made by righteous people are "powerful and effective". (James 5:16)
Each of these things mentioned, patience, forgiveness, prayer, and asking for help from God's family are all pieces of the puzzle to help us in times of trouble, sorrow and hardship. Let us be there for each other and put the pieces together.