Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let’s look at problems as opportunities. They are opportunities to grow our faith and often to grow relationships. They’re a lot like dumbbells. The word dumbbells originated in Tudor England when athletes used hand-held church bells to develop their upper body and arms. The bells ranged in weight from a few ounces to many pounds. Since the church bells would have made a great deal of noise, the athletes would take out the clappers so they could practice quietly; hence the name "dumb,” as in "no sound", and "bell" – dumbbell. I use them nearly every day. I don’t really like them. My arms get tired when I lift them over and over. When I put the dumbbell in my arms and then raise my arms above my head, I’m not really having fun, but the activity of lifting the dumbbells will eventually make me stronger. In the short term, I get tired. In the long term, I’ll grow stronger.

If we look at problems as opportunities to grow and learn, we can rest assured that we will be stronger in the long run. In the middle of a problem, it’s good to ask, “What can I learn from this? How is this making me stronger?” Remember, it’s not the final solution that makes us stronger; it’s the activity of solving the problem that makes us stronger.

Part of the activity of working out our problems is calling on God for guidance. The Bible teaches us that God is with us. When Jesus was born, he was called Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) He’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) We can talk to him and lean on him. We can run to him with our inmost thoughts. He is always available. He wants to help us sort out life’s smallest and greatest problems.

It’s in lifting the dumbbells that we develop our muscles. In sorting out the challenges of life, we exercise our faith and develop our spiritual muscles. Lifting weights is a physical workout; problem-solving is a mental and spiritual workout.

Like the English athletes who silenced the bells, let’s silence our complaints and use our problems as opportunities to grow stronger. Let’s exercise our faith.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. I Timothy 4:8


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