Everyone has one. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, private, interpersonal, huge or small. Everyone has one because problems propel the stories of our lives forward.
Flynn’s problems squeeze him like quicksand. The teachers are hot on his trail. He’s missing lots of work. Flynn is about to fail fifth grade. His frazzled mother has given up and left home.
How do you react to such problems? You might confide in a friend, like Dash the dragonfly. You might work harder, pray harder–patiently move forward. Or you might get discouraged, grumble, complain and give up.
After pitching a bombastic tantrum, Flynn decides to be proactive. He’s gonna win that science fair, impress his teachers. He’s gonna bring his mom home and promote to middle school.
But some problems are much worse than failing 5th grade. The blind, the deaf, the lame, the poor, the paralytic brought their problems to Jesus. And he helped everyone. He healed the sick, raised the dead and gave them new lives.
Can Jesus solve our problems, too? Well, “…nothing is too hard for God,” says Jeremiah 32: 17. And Jesus taught the multitudes: Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open.
Then why do some problems hang around long after we pray, like droopy Christmas lights in February? That’s an essential part of our life stories, too. All of us are heroes on noble journeys to meet our goals, to reach our quests, to solve our problems….
But we rarely understand God’s timing. Sometimes he answers immediately. Sometimes He delays to demonstrate his mighty power. He is famous for waiting while we mature in faith, or while we gain deeper compassion for our fellow sufferers. He has other reasons beyond my comprehension, but while we wait we grow.
Flynn is well on his way to reaching his goal when he gets sidetracked with naughtiness. He needs to learn to listen to his conscience, and the voice of the Holy Spirit, especially when he is tempted to snitch the lake ranger’s canoe.
What can we learn from our problems? We can learn to trust God greater, to persevere longer, to surrender fully, to set a good example for those who are younger or weaker—to overcome temptation–and many other things.
Facing devastation and disaster, like all of us, Flynn reaches a black story moment when he listens to lies from the antagonist. “You are no good. You have fatal flaws. You might as well quit.” But through it all, God stays near, sprinkling him with good favor, pressing him onward.
What is your problem? Have you hit that black story moment when you are listening to the enemy rather than trusting God? Does the antagonist in your story suggest you are not worthy, that you should quit? That God has abandoned you?
Remember, the closer you come to reaching the end of your noble journey, the darker the night but the nearer the prize.
Flynn calls his mom and tells her he is going to fail 5th grade because he has lost his dragonfly, the main element in his science project. He doesn’t know what to do now.
Then she tells him, “Flynn, when you are ready you will find the way.” He needs to get his act together.
For Christians, one essential act we need to get together is written in Hebrews 11:6. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”
Do you know that God is with you on your noble journey? And when you are ready to completely and diligently trust Him, you will find His peace that passes all understanding and grace to press forward…Or you will seize your noble prize and hold it in your hands. Problem solved!