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Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3 (NLT)

I remember the registrar at the small MidwesternBibleCollege I went to in the early 70’s. Robert had a heart for God and a heart for us ‘kids’ entering college. The thing I remembered the most about him was that it didn’t take long for us students to learn to never, ever use the word ‘problem.’

As soon as the word ‘problem’ left your lips he’d put his hand up and gently interrupt with his favorite phrase:

“Ah! No such thing as problems. Only opportunities to see how the Lord can work.”

Those words have stuck with me ever since, but it’s far easier for to focus on the problem than see the opportunity. It’s easier to succumb to worry than to rely on trust. It makes more sense in our human minds to figure out a way to avoid issues than it is to rely on an outside source.

Opportunity is hard to see when we are in the midst of trials, but even more so when those trials are a result of our own choices. When we look at trials as problems our options are many, but results are limited. We can blame others, we can blame God, we can worry, we can go into denial, try new relationships or surroundings or a whole basketful of other options.

When we look at trials as opportunities, our options may be few (one actually) but the results are infinite. When I look at a trial as my own problem, then I am the only one that can solve it. When I look at a trial as the Lord’s opportunity to show himself to me, then the responsibility for solution becomes his. My response is to trust him so that I can grow stronger and have more courage.

Fear and worry paralyze us. Courage is knowing that whatever trials are before us, we will be stronger on the other side. Faith is knowing that regardless of the reasons for my struggle, my God will never leave me and can use anything I encounter as an opportunity for him to show his grace, mercy and love.

Is what you are facing today a problem or an opportunity? Your response to that question will determine how you approach the future.

PRAYER: Father God, the things I’m facing scare me. In my humanity I tend towards trying to solve my own problems rather than relying on you to show my how to grow through them. Empower me with your Spirit to see all of life as an opportunity for you to make me stronger. Amen.

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