By Zeny Calusay
Problems are a part of life. And if we are not careful about how we look at life’s events and challenges, we could really end up defeated, thinking all the while that it only consists of problems.
Life’s problems have become a theme for many authors and songwriters.
Try typing “life’s problems” on the Google search bar, and you get about 111,000,000 results in 0.74 seconds.
Also, the popular band Beatles sang of “man in trouble,” of “broken heart” of “finding the night as cloudy” in their popular song “Let It Be”.
Still, when I key in “quotations on life’s problems,” Google lists 39,300,000 in 0.53 seconds—one of which says: “Life without problems is like ocean without water”.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).
Problems are meant to be solved. Basic in any problem-solving is identifying what the problem really is.
For this piece, I am sharing three categories of problems helpful in identifying a problem. Some problems are easy, some will prove much more difficult. Interestingly, some may prove as “no problem” at all.
“NECESSARY” PROBLEMS: NEEDS
Necessary means essential and inevitable, so necessary problems refer to our “NEEDS”. Needs are basic, valid, obvious and important for survival.
Science gives us this list: oxygen in the air, water, food, shelter, clothing and rest.
Jesus Christ narrowed down this list to food and clothing. He said: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matthew 6:25–)
Because these are needs, finding provision for food and clothing should be regarded as responsibility—and not a problem.
When in lack, be creative, be inventive. We must even have fun finding solutions to these things.
For one, I am amused at the posts on Facebook on the many ways discovered by mothers how to cook squash and eggplant.
True, sometimes supply can run out, but there is no need to panic. Jesus said: “Don’t worry: For your heavenly Father knows that you need them”.
There is a source that does not run. Trust and ask the Father in heaven, make room for his surprises!
“NO” PROBLEMS: WANTS
Let us be reminded that sometimes and unknowingly, what stresses us and makes us feel life is difficult are our “WANTS”, not our needs. While needs represent necessities, wants only mean desires. Most important, wants are not as important as needs—because a person can live without wants.
Watch out for some expressions that reveal wants: “I have no more shoes” actually means “I want a new pair that is on style now” or “my iPhone is slowing me down in my work” actually means “Apple just released a new model, and I want it!”
This category of problems has a simple solution: contentment.
The apostle Paul says: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:12–13)
Being contented is really up to us! It’s a choice. A decision to be happy with what we have, with the basic and essential. They say we are in the new normal—a new way of living and going about our lives, work and interactions with other people because of this pandemic.
I like to say we are being brought back to the normal—normal way of living—living on the basic and essential. We have to admit that prior to this pandemic, we have been caught into what the entertainment world and commercial advertisements put out before our eyes through billboards and TV advertisements.
Our hearts were captured and enticed to want things. We ended up miserable because we are made to believe that we needed what they offer.
COMPLEX PROBLEMS: DIFFICULT LIFE ISSUES
These are problems, issues or crises that happen to normal people living normal lives.
These are brought by factors beyond our control, sometimes caused by other people, by natural forces. These include problems in relationships, grief, loss, self-esteem issues, calamity and even this Corona Virus Disease-19 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Faced with such problems, we say: “We say we are not ready for this”, “We did not prepare for this”. “I did not see this coming”, or “This is too much”.
Well, these statements reveal that the problem can’t be handled by the concerned person by himself. So, the best piece of advice we should heed is GET HELP.
Seek help from family or from government agencies. We can look around because there are people and even private agencies that may help. Civic organizations are also one of them.
But most of all, we can seek help from no one else but God who said: “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you” (Isaiah 41:13)
Yes, indeed, these are problems in our lives. And many of us predict there will be more coming because of this pandemic. But let me tell you that real problems have real solutions. And there is help available.
So, we need not succumb to defeat. As I always say in our Radiance meetings: “It is not the absence of real-life burdens that makes one radiant—but in knowing where to get the ability and the courage to face all of them.”