Problems Hide Possibilities

“Everyday life is a school where any experience can be a lesson for later.”

It is easy to think that life would be wonderful if you never had a problem, but that is neither true nor possible. You will encounter things in your life’s path that are challenging, not pleasant. Situations that are difficult, questions that are perplexing, and people and things that seem to oppose or prevent your progress. Had any of those recently?

Today’s verse comes from a similar, very real situation in Samson’s life. See Judges 14:5-6. Along his journey, a lion attacked with one intent, to destroy and devour its prey. See John 10:10. Now that is a problem. With supernatural strength he killed the lion, probably delighted just to have survived.

The incident is described there with few details of the frightening fracas. You can imagine what they must have been, because you will feel those emotions too at such times – the break-up of a marriage or friendship, the shock of a dreaded medical diagnosis, the loss of a job, a serious financial crisis, a frightening threat to your safety. Lions take differing forms today, don’t they?

How might I describe his experience? Unanticipated; frightening, no terrorizing; adrenalin-pumping surprise; threatening, potentially destructive. Had any of those lately? But Samson prevailed because “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him . . though he had nothing in his hand.” Notice this, though renown for his strength, it was the Spirit of the Lord that enabled Samson to prevail, not his own strength. See 2 Corinthians 3:3-5 NIV.

Sometime later, he saw the bleached bones of the lion that had so earlier threatened him. A swarm of bees had built their hive, and Samson satisfied his hunger with the honey that waited there. There are lion-sized threats; there are bee-sized annoyances. In either or both, there will be possibilities you did not anticipate! Samson learned, “Out of the eater came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet.” Run from the lion and avoid the bees, you will also miss the honey!

James mentions three elements that are necessary before your problems become possibilities. See James 1:2-4. Obviously, the process begins with trouble; there will be an element of time; and there must always be truth, the wisdom that God gives you when you ask. It is rarely what happens to you that makes the difference. It is how you respond to what happens that has the power to bring good from harm. “Don’t be surprised . . as if something strange is happening to you. Instead be very glad . . for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-19 NLT. See also 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 NIV. The same source of Samson’s victory – “the Spirit of the Lord” – will be the source of yours as well.

Life allows you to transform your experiences into valuable lessons, good for you and for others alongside, or after you. See Judges 14:9. I have learned the most from my unwanted circumstances. Everyday life is a school where any experience, whether good or bad, hides a lesson for later. Why then does everyone have such experiences, but not everyone is smarter for those? When you fail to ask for God’s help and wisdom in your problems, you fail to see the possibilities. “If any lack wisdom let him ask of God who gives freely . . ”

My prayer for you today is to look for the possibilities and trust God meanwhile.