HANDLING LIFE’S PROBLEMS AND CONFLICTS

Many Christians do not understand that God allows problems to change our direction or push us in a new way. God has a plan for our lives and most of us get off course. It took me years to realize that God uses problems to get my attention and for me to begin wondering, what do I need to change or do differently?

If you study the Bible it becomes very clear, everyone seems to have difficulties in their life. Sometimes, the more spiritual one was, the greater the conflicts.

Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 23b – 27 – “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”

It amazes me when Christians encounter a problem or a conflict and feel like God has forsaken them. Or they are asking God: “Why is this happening to me?” God allows us to go through problems and conflicts that we might grow spiritually and mature. Sometimes we make foolish decisions and receive negative consequences. However, many times things happen that are beyond our control. I have learned that adversity occurs sometimes to help us change jobs or even change churches. I have learned this by my own experiences and by watching others and seeing in most cases, God had something better in the change. I want to stress, it is only the conflicts that were beyond my control. I never made changes when I realized, the problems occurred from my mistakes or it was self-caused.

I had an individual, who was a high executive and was asked to take a different job that could be seen as a demotion, ask me whether he should quit. My experience was to suggest taking the demotion and see if God is in it. He took the new job and found it was something he really enjoyed, more than the previous position. I point this out that there are times when problems exist and we need to pray and see if God is in it. Does He have something better for us even though it may be a demotion or a completely different direction?

I was offered a job as a store manager across from DisneyLand in Anaheim, CA. I believed it was not what God wanted for my family and me. I was told if I refused, I may never be given a promotion again. After three years, the Regional Manager left the company and three months later I was offered Las Vegas, NV. We have been here 41 years. I believe it was a God thing and my entire family remains in Las Vegas and we keep in close touch. Having started my own business 28 years ago, my son and daughter work with me. There is no doubt that we did what God directed. We have learned to trust God and obey His commands and Ways.

In 2009, I learned of a Christian couple going through a number of financial problems caused by the bubble in housing and loss of a job. The wife was considering leaving her husband because things were not going well. She asked for prayer. We must realize that anytime we have a problem or a conflict, we must view it as if the problem was because God was allowing it. It is not God that is causing it but is using it for a reason we may not understand.

We must pray for a discerning spirit and ask God why is the conflict happening? We may pray that we made these financial decisions based on believing it was God’s will. Rather than blaming the husband she should ask: “Lord what is this all about?” Then ask yourself: “Do I really trust God to help us work through this?”

We must face problems and learn to deal with them and not run from them. Before we face conflict we must pray for a quiet spirit. We must be extremely careful what we say and how we say it. Conflicts or problems will never get solved if we cannot communicate what the problem is and how it is affecting us. We first must identify what is causing the problem and see if there are solutions that we can agree will correct the situation. How much easier it is to handle conflict when we do it quietly and humbly. Letting emotions boil over only causes others to become more defensive. Things worked out for the couple and they are doing very well.

Practice Ephesians 4:30 – 32 – “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

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