One statement by a speaker at a meeting I attended changed my outlook on handling tough times. “We are all either problem conscious or power conscious,” he said, then asked: “Which are you?”
And with that simple yet profound observation he gave me an effective approach to surviving and even thriving during the problem periods of life.
Too many of us are problem conscious. This constant focusing on our difficulties, instead of on the power of God to take us safely through them, has fostered a defeatist attitude among people who are equipped to win. Consequently, problems loom large, burdens become too heavy to bear and the future is faced with fear.
Most of us live far below our potential. Even those who say they have been forgiven and have a personal relationship with their Lord often give in to despair over daily difficulties. What has happened to the overcoming faith that was so evident among those “after Easter people” who gained the reputation of turning the world upside down? Why do so many who have become part of God’s family by faith find themselves unable to cope with adverse circumstances?
Perhaps it’s because we’ve forgotten our mission and the power of the One who has commissioned us to make a difference.
The late U.S. Senate chaplain, Peter Marshall, thought so, writing: “Church members in too many cases are like deep-sea divers, encased in suits designed for many fathoms deep, marching bravely forth to pull out plugs in bathtubs.”
Could it be that we often feel down because that’s the direction we’re looking?
Christian Powell had longed to become an attorney. He had set this ambitious goal early in life but became afflicted by two dreaded diseases: tuberculosis and polio. Both diseases hospitalized him for long periods of time and the latter paralyzed most of the major muscles in the lower part of his body. When he was discharged from the hospital after his bout with polio, at the age of nineteen, there seemed little hope that he could catch up academically or even go to college.
But Christian wouldn’t concede defeat. He had a dream and was unwilling to give up on it. Spending many hours each day building up his upper body and studying, he kept pressing toward his goal. One year later, he enrolled in a special college prep course that allowed him to get his high school diploma and 10 years later walked across a graduation platform to receive his law degree. By then he was married, had four sons and was already successful in the field of accounting.
Within a few years, Christian had become the managing partner of a growing law firm, was active politically and as a land developer. When I met Christian, he was the chairman of the board of directors of a worldwide evangelistic organization and later headed a Christian school. Faith and courage had enabled him to make a difference.
Each morning I talk to my Lord about things that could become obstacles to what I want to accomplish that day. Then I nourish my faith with this doubt destroyer: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
Let’s not settle for less than God’s best. His power will equip us for every task and test.
Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. An anthology containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at email@example.com.