Between Problems and Possibilities
“I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
By God’s grace, we are celebrating another year of God’s faithfulness. After 31 years, our church is still here, ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of the community in Batu Pahat. And through many of our people who are now populating different corners of the world, we are also ministering around the world. This is a wonderful reason for celebrating especially because we are able to do this in spite of problems.
The truth is you will find what you look for. If you look for problems, you can be assured that you will not miss them, there are plenty and they never seem to go away. But if you look for possibilities, they are there too. It appears reasonable to me that we are able to continue as a church not because of our problems, but because of our possibilities.
We make choices every day. Indeed, at the dawning of the day, when we get ready to start the day, we are confronted with two simple choices. We can start the day thinking “Shucks! Life is a series of endless problems. We are either confronting one, going through one, or coming out of one.” Now, if truth be told, that is the reality. Life is full of problems – little ones, big ones, tragic ones, difficult ones – they come in all shapes and sizes. But they need not remain problems; they can be seen as challenges. There is another way to think about them.
To transform problems into challenges, we just need to change our attitude. We can start the day by remembering that the Lord has already overcome the world. We can thank Him by saying, “Praise God! Life is a series of possibilities. We are either approaching one, embracing and benefitting from one, or pursuing one.” The reality remains the same, nothing has changed there. But we have changed; and that makes all the difference!
The first thing we would experience is the change in the way we feel. Problems make us feel frustrated and we will be discouraged, unmotivated and hopeless. It will drive us down a spiralling pit of dark despair. Possibilities, on the other hand, energize us because they make us feel hopeful and optimistic. It is all in our perception – a negative perception of our own limitations that holds us back. It is not our aptitude, but our attitude, that derails us from moving forward to achieve our goals. This attitude is birthed by our negative thoughts about problems. Instead of being liberated by an overcoming attitude, we are clawed into a defeatist attitude of impossibilities rather than possibilities.
Chuck Swindoll, is a pastor and president of a seminary. He is a conservative evangelical minister of the Gospel who believes in the power of possibilities because the Lord Jesus has overcome the world. “The longer I live,” he writes, “ the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”
As believers, we have less reason to be living in the world of “impossibles.” After all, we do believe that “with God, all things are possible” (Mat 19:26), don’t we? The producer of some of the most creative and entertaining movies, Samuel Goldwyn, succeeded where others failed because he reorientates the word impossible to read “i m possible”. Yes, with God, all things are possible, and “I’m possible.” We can look forward to accomplishing more for God in the coming years because we are willing to rethink our position, recalibrate our problems into challenges, and refocus our energy on the chief task God has set before us as a church – to make disciples of all nations (Mat. 28:19) one at a time.