Across the street from my house is a wooded area with many large trees. Every morning when I wake up, I make it a point to open the door and observe it for a few seconds. It calls to mind God’s creation of vegetation (Genesis 1:11) and helps me to focus on him.
Since we’re in winter right now, there are no leaves on the trees. When I look out my door each morning, my eyes see nothing but bare wood. In my mind, however, I can vividly remember what these trees looked like when covered with green leaves. With a little effort, I can anticipate what they will look like in a few months when spring arrives. Before long, I can almost feel the temperature climbing and my sense of hopefulness increasing. If I allow my mind to linger on these thoughts, it almost feels like spring has arrived.
It’s amazing what can happen when we take control of our thoughts! Can you imagine what could take place if we did this with our problems? We could get to the point when we see them not as obstacles, but as opportunities.
Just to set the record straight, I am not recommending that you just cross your fingers and learn the art of wishful thinking. Rather, I am encouraging you to view each problem in your life as an opportunity for God to come to your assistance.
The Bible clearly states that all things are possible for God (Matthew 19:26) and that the heart of Jesus was moved with pity for the people (Mark 6:34), so why do we panic when faced with a frightening medical diagnosis, job layoff or financial difficulties? He cares about you and can help you if you let him. To God, every problem represents a possibility.
Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that God is only willing to help us with spiritual matters, but that is completely untrue. Sure, his main concern is that we get to heaven (our most important need), but Scripture also tells us that Jesus fed the hungry (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14), healed the sick (Matthew 4:23) and even gave Peter the money he needed to pay the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27).
Jesus also acknowledged that our Heavenly Father is aware of our material needs (Matthew 6:32) and urges us to trust in his providence. Instead of worrying about all of the problems we are facing, let’s view them as opportunities for divine intervention.
In preparation for entering the Promised Land, the Lord told Moses to send 12 scouts (Numbers:13) to check out the land. After 40 days in Canaan, they returned with their report. While they all confirmed that the land flowed with milk and honey, 11 of them reported that Canaan’s fierce inhabitants posed too great of a threat to them. Only Caleb expressed the opinion that the Israelites should seize the land. Addressing the people, Joshua joined with Caleb and stated:
“The land which we went through and reconnoitered is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us in to this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord! You need not be afraid of the people of the land, for they are but food for us! Their protection has left them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them” (Numbers 14:7-9).
While most of the people saw a problem and wanted to run away in fear, Joshua and Caleb saw a possibility. They trusted in God’s power to fulfill his promise. Although it ended up being a long and painful process (mainly due to the stubbornness of the people), that’s exactly what ended up happening.
Another example of looking past the problem to see a possibility can be found at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). When the wine ran out, Mary didn’t panic. Knowing that only Jesus could remedy the situation, she brought it to his attention and he miraculously transformed water into fine wine.
If the wine hadn’t run out, Jesus wouldn’t have been able to perform his first miracle. What started out as a problem (and a big one, at that!) ended up being a possibility for Jesus to display his miraculous power. As a result, Jesus “revealed his glory and his disciples came to believe in him” (John 2:11).
As you read this, I invite you to take a look at your problems and choose the biggest one. Look at it not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. Your medical diagnosis, empty bank account or inability to overcome a habitual sin represents a possibility for God.
With confidence in his infinite power, spend a few minutes pondering what it would be like if that problem was resolved. Allow yourself to feel the peace flow through your body. Now, turn that problem over to the Lord and ask him to handle it. Let him decide on the “how” and the “when.”
Instead, just take comfort in the fact that he heard you and will act in the best way possible when the time is right.
That’s how you transform problems into possibilities!
Gary Zimak is a best-selling author, speaker and radio host based in South Jersey. Connect with him online at FollowingTheTruth.com.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103