“Give your problems time.” I caught this statement echoing in my mind on countless occasions this past year; and each time, it brought me fantastic results and great peace.
Let’s say that you wake up one morning to see an outbreak of red rashes on a part of your face. Or you arrive at work one morning to find a note from your boss who has been unusually silent in the past week, “I need to have a conversation with you and Craig before noon today. Contact me at your earliest convenience.” (**insert panic music theme, lol)
What would you do?
Generally, in Scenario 1, you may immediately pull up Google and search “red rashes on skin,” or “causes of rashes on face” or something along those lines.
Next, you would scroll through the results that to an article from American Academy of Dermatology; “Umm… that one looks credible.” You may click on it to find that they have provided 10 possible reasons why your face is red. You skim through familiar and ambiguous medical terms – dermatitis, allergic reaction, reaction to medication, till you get towards the end of the list – Lupus, Rare cancer.
And then, your imagination could begin to run wild, “Is it possible that I have a viral infection, or could this be the beginning signs of a rare cancer known as T-cell cutaneous lymphoma?”
You take a moment to inspect a few photos online and compare them with your skin, then you conclude, “Oh no! I most definitely have shingles.”
You take rapid pictures of the affected area of your face and text your fun best friend who unfortunately also easily freaks out, “Morning! I think I might have shingles. And guess what, I need to do something fast because without adequate treatment, it could permanently damage my eyesight!!!” (You insert *broken heart emoji, *teary face and *pleading face). Both of you go back and forth with the messaging, predicting, panicking and connecting emotionally till you really need to leave for work or you would miss the bus!
Afterwards, you set out on your day with a heavy heart and a head full of medical gibberish. lol
Okay, I might have blown up the image a little, but isn’t that what we tend to do when faced with anything that is out of the ordinary? I imagine how much more beautiful things would go if we desisted from imagining the worst, from accepting the worst as our reality; if we gave our problems just a little bit of time.
Give your problems time.
At first glance, one may wondered if that statement is an expression of lack of faith or worse still, if it is un-christian. One might think, “Why give room to the problem at all, to the extent of allowing it to fester?
I am learning that the ability to refrain from hasty conclusions, to hold off quick fixes, to rather direct our concerns to the Lord and wait for Him to act are indicators of spiritual maturity and growing faith.
First, let us establish a fact. Life in itself is dynamic. Things are always changing. Even if your daily activities are structured, fixed and consistent, you will agree with me that somehow, your Tuesday ends significantly different from your Monday. Same schedule, a different outcome or experience. That is life. It is also the essence of the second of thermodynamics:
the entropy of the universe (the ultimate isolated system) only increases and never decreases. Second law of thermodynamics
Entropy is simply a measure of randomness or uncertainty. This means that the universe can be seen as a system that does not exchange either energy or matter at all with any other system beyond it, and all the energy transformations that take place within the universe results in increasing, increasing, increasing entropy (randomness, disorder).
Jesus also said it in John 16:33 and I particularly like the way that the Wycliffe Bible translation phrases the statement; they use the word dis-ease: the stoppage of ease, the deviation from normal/familiar.
These things I have spoken to you, that ye have peace in me; in the world ye shall have dis-ease [in the world ye shall have pressing, or overlaying], but trust ye, I have overcome the world.John 16:33
Everyday in life, we are bound to encounter uncertainties. “Uncertainties are certain in life,” I love me a good paradox, lol.
The second thing that we must establish is in the second portion of the same verse: “Jesus has overcome the world!
You know what that means? It means that we are on the winning side. The result of the battle was announced even before we engaged the challenge and everyone who believes in Jesus are declared victors because we are on His side!
This truth is what we must ingrain into our subconsciousness. We must believe it, think it and declare it until we can say it easily and with deep assurance. May the Lord open our spiritual eyes to see the victory that He has won and to appropriate it in our situations so that we can experience this victory always.
So what do we do when the actual uncertainty arises? I’ve got 3 recommendations: Defer, Declare, Connect.
- Defer Judgement: Oh, you gotta wait before you put a label on that problem. This action of biding time is really counter-intuitive to the human nature, because we all tend to get anxious, try to fix faulty things by ourselves or to talk about the issues that trouble us. I have observed over time that as I give time to different concerns as I let a few days or weeks pass, some of those concerns ceased to exist. And for others which didn’t quite disappear, I understood better how to handle them.
Isn’t this what the medical practitioners do? That when you tell them your symptoms, they diagnose and run tests before they conclude? Isn’t it what project managers and business analysts do? That to carry out quality checks or to manage risks, they conduct a root-cause analysis?
- Declare the Lord’s report: In that moment between the symptom and the diagnosis, you gotta declare God’s promises over your life!
That period is so important because that is often when fear or faith would have the opportunity to arise in our hearts. And since we know just how powerful our words are, how profitable would it be to dig into the arsenal of God’s word in your heart to use it to cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God in our hearts and to make those fearful thoughts captives? (II Corinthians 10:5) How powerful would it be to reach into our armour, to draw out our swords and cut off the heads of our enemy – the devil and his schemes? And you know the sword of the spirit is the word of God! (Ephesians 6:17)
Guess what? Prayer works! Prayer changes situations! The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results. (James 5:16)
So, if I will take us back to the scenarios we had painted earlier, but this time the person (let’s say his/her name is Exceller) wakes up to see red rashes on their skin. They are shocked and concerned, no doubt. In fact, they check Google for possible causes and remedies as well. But immediately, they lay hands on the affected area and declare, “In Jesus’ name, disappear. I speak wellness to my body. By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed; by His wounds, I am made whole.” Any impending fear crumbles and they go about their day with great expectation. They proceed to book an appointment with a physician. But before we say jack, they wake up the next day to see that the rashes have begun to dry and clear away. They have no option but to explain to the physician and to cancel the appointment – no need anymore, problem got solved.
Or maybe Exceller bided their time and prayed, and then the thing that seemed like a rash steadily increases in size, becoming a bump. When they meet up with the expert, correct diagnosis is provided and oh, Exceller has atopic dermatitis, not shingles. Then, treatment is offered and problem gets solved. Exceller has neither rash nor worries!
- Connect with like-minds: Oh, you gotta let a sistur’s iron sharpens yours!
God has placed our family and friends in our lives to bear our burdens as we bear theirs. A problem shared is a problem half solved! Everyone has someone in their lives who would speak an uplifting word to their situation and give them a hug to say, I understand that this is a tough situation you are in.
If after you have prayed the fear maintains a deep root or you need to engage intercessory or corporate prayers, connect.
Should you reach out to an expert in that area, the information they provide is still subject to God’s love and promises. When Prophet Agabus came to Paul and other believers in Caesarea, Agabus revealed to them by the Holy Spirit that Paul was going to be arrested if he went to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:10-14) But Paul decided that in spite of that information, he would go to Jerusalem. He chose to write how the rest of his story would go, because he knew one thing for sure – that no matter what, he wins! That is the enormous power of God at work in us.
How amazing would it be if at the point when you were really troubled with that concern, you replaced it with a word of prayer and a confession of faith. And then, the next day or the next week, that concern turns into a praise report and you end up telling your friend or your family the good news instead?
There are many dividends from giving our problems time, all the while dictating the narrative on the premise of God’s precious promises.
For one, we cultivate patience which is the fruit of the spirit. We also enjoy peace. We learn to trust God and demonstrate faith and reap its reach harvest. In addition, we become carriers of glad tidings. And even when the news does not appear to be great from the physical eyes, we know what others may not know, which is that ultimately, we win!
This verse of the Bible right here is golden; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
May all our concerns metamorphose to testimonies, even before we get the chance to label them, to worry about them or talk about them. Cheers!