Article of Faith: God is not a problem solver, By Femi Aribisala

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God is the One who creates the problems we want Him to solve.

Contrary to what many Christians may have been led to believe, God is not a problem-solver even though He solves problems. If we define God as a problem solver, we will be frustrated and disappointed when he adamantly refuses to solve our problems.

The psalmist says: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19). Nevertheless, we often groan like David: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22:1).

The confidence we have in adversity is the presence of God. He says: “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2).

God wants us to know that most problems are not problems because we have Him.

God did it

Indeed, God is the One who creates the problems we want Him to solve. He is the One who suffered Israel to hunger in the wilderness to teach them that life is in His word. Where is God when we are confronted with difficulties? He is right there, teaching us life lessons. (Ezekiel 48:35). 

It was God who gave Paul “a thorn in the flesh.” When Paul prayed about this, Jesus simply told Him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When Paul then understood that his affliction was designed to keep him from pride, he made an instructive resolution: “Most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Good problems

Problems do not last. What they often require is endurance, which is tonic for the soul. Solomon says: “Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.” (Proverbs 20:30).

Jesus says to the church in Smyrna: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10).

Problems are often for our good. Therefore, God insists we go through them. Since God is the beginning and the end of all things, all problems originate from God and end with Him. Since God is good, all problems end in God’s goodness.

Thus, Paul says: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). David says to God: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71).

I AM

God is not interested in solving our problems because there are divine purposes in them. God only has one purpose, and that is to reveal who He is. He prescribes problems for us for one fundamental reason:

“That you may know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10:2).

He repeats this purpose 80 times in the Old Testament. Sometimes He shortens it and simply says: “I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 18:5). He says that 165 times in the Old Testament. Jesus says: “I am He.” (John 13:19), a further abridgement of “I am the Lord” that appears in both the Old and the New Testament.

They are all derivatives of the name of God revealed to Moses: “Say to the children of Israel ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14).

Higher revelation

In effect, problems are designed to take us to a higher revelation of who God is. Thus, Job testifies to God after his afflictions: “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5).

Jesus was the one behind Lazarus’ adversity. So, when He was informed that Lazarus was sick, He did nothing. Then He said: “

Lazarus is dead. And I am glad.” (John 11:14-15).

Jesus healed the sick who did not know Him. But He had something better for Lazarus, His friend. To the privileged, He says: “You will see greater things.” (John 1:50).

Therefore, He waited for Lazarus to get worse. Then He waited for him to die. Then He waited for him to be buried. And then, He showed up.

Martha, Lazarus’ sister, could not hide her disappointment. She told Him: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21).

But Jesus wanted this family in Bethany to know Him not just as a healer, but as “the resurrection and the life.” He said to her: “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26). Then He raised Lazarus from the dead.

From bad to worse

Lazarus’ case  demonstrates that bad things give more glory to God than good things. Indeed, God has a vested interest in ensuring that things go from bad to worse before He makes them better:

“That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20).

For this reason: “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.” (1 Samuel 2:6-7). “He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.” (Job 5:18).

From Doctor to Nurse

God healed me of bullet wounds and called me to a healing ministry. But one day, while in the shower, I discovered a swelling in my groin. The Lord said to me: “Femi, it is a hernia. Go and see your doctor.”

This led into one of those epic battles with God as I insisted that He should heal me, and He maintained that I should go and see a doctor. My position was that, since I know God as a healer, He should just heal me. But He refused.

My standoff lasted nearly two years. When I finally relented and went to see my doctor, he told me the hernia would have to be surgically corrected. That worsened the situation for me. What is the point of being in a healing ministry and, nevertheless, having to undergo surgery?

When I finally had the surgery, God told me to read this scripture:

“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.” (Psalm 41:1-3).

Then God said to me: “Femi, you know Me as a Doctor, but I also want you to know Me as a Nurse.”

Faribisala@yahoo.com; www.femiaribisala.com

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