One of the kids' devotion questions last week was, "Do you ever feel like you have too many problems?"
To be honest, I had to stifle a laugh as they both gave emphatic YESes.
My first thought: "They're kids! What kind of problems do they have?"
So, I asked them.
When teachers give too much homework. When others won't play fair. When my brother isn't being nice. When I can't beat a video game level. When I have too many things on my schedule. When I'm not included. When I have to play sports in the heat. When I don't feel good. When I'm in time out. When we have to clean our playroom.
When you're going into kindergarten and 3rd grade, these are legitimate problems. Too many problems.
Romans 5:3-4 speaks to this issue.
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation."
Love it. I've printed it and taped it to the wall.
As a runner, my endurance has been under constant scrutiny for the last year and a half. I used to get hot or tired and just throw in the towel and walk, but as I've stayed steadfast in my training, my endurance has grown and I'm going faster and farther.
On a broader scale, I see this playing out in my life and in that of my family... We're quick to quit on things. Quick to believe the lies that we can't. Quick to believe that we're in over our head or outmatched. Quick to believe that everyone else has it together and we don't. Quick to believe that whatever-it-is is a bad idea.
This bit of scripture is so life-giving...
Problems - processing through them, exchanging the lies for truth, praying with faith and expectation, charging through fear, falling back on God's promises and provision - develop endurance. And endurance builds character, and character strengthens hope.