Sunday Adelaja is the founder and senior pastor of the Embassy of God, an evangelical-charismatic megachurch in Kiev, Ukraine. He immigrated to the USSR and Belarus as a scholarship student from Nigeria in 1986 to study journalism. After graduation and the breakdown of the USSR, he started several churches that he later handed over to other pastors before he moved from Belarus to Ukraine in December 1993.
After moving to Ukraine, he started a large network of churches known as the Embassy of God Church. The church is also active in Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, the United States and Uzbekistan.
Adelaja has faced criticism from local groups, other Ukrainian Evangelical churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church and from foreign-based Christian counter cult organisations as well as accusations of involvement in fraud.
PROBLEMS – This is probably one of the most commonly used words in the vocabulary of any culture. There is no one in all the world, who does not come across this word on a regular basis one way or the other. As a matter of fact, our world revolves around problems. All of us individually and collectively regularly face problems in our daily lives. Attitudes to problems vary from person to person. Some run away from problems. Some look for problems. Some hide from problems. Some look for ways of resolving problems. Some succumb to problems. There are all kinds of reactions to problems. So problems, what are they? Blessings or a curse?
In this article I want to present a case to all my readers that problems indeed are not a curse but a blessing. A problem is one of the most beautiful things that could happen to you. A problem is a blessing.
“Problems are the guiding lights along the way of life.” ― DebasishMridha
A LESSON IN HISTORY
A careful study of the history of humanity would stand as a monumental testimony to the fact that problems are indeed a blessing. Most of the technological breakthroughs which we enjoy today are as a result of problems. It used to take half a year to travel from one continent to the other by ship, now it takes 6 hours by plane, thanks to problems.
We used to have telegrams as the fastest form of communication, now we have Skype, Facebook, Email, social media, etc. Horses used to be the most effective means of transportation, that was before Mercedes Benz came to town. We used to write with ink and pen, now we have computers, tablets, etc. all as a result of solving problems.
Planes came about as a result of man trying to resolve the problem of transportation. Skype, computer, telephone, all came about in the quest of man to resolve the communication problem. Cars, bicycles, automobiles all came about as a result of the desire of men to solve the mobility problem. Electricity is as result of the desperation of man to solve the energy problem.
Our modern medical breakthroughs are thanks to the health challenges that the generation before us faced. Antibiotics are a result of Mr. Fleming trying to stop the death plague of the 1920s. The list could go on and on. The truth of the matter is, each time we have a problem, a breakthrough is knocking at the door.
“Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them.” ― Hugh Miller
WHAT IS A PROBLEM?
Dear brothers and sisters, the issue is not with problems, but how we see problems. We could either see problems as a blessing or as a limitation. In the real sense though, problems are supposed to be a door into new opportunities, if we could only relate to them correctly.
Let’s go deeper into the meaning of the word PROBLEM. By my own definition, problems are events, occurrences or conflicts that cause pain, discomfort or suffering. Now that is where the issue is. In this definition we can see the reason why humanity in general, dislikes and even hates problems. The reason is simple, problems cause pain, discomfort and suffering. We don’t like pain. We dislike discomfort and we detest suffering.
I think our attitude and response to problems is understandable because as humans we are created with flesh and a body. The nature of our flesh and body is such that we are uncomfortable with pain or discomfort. So our body dislikes suffering hence it runs away from problems. Our physical body prefers a more conducive and more comfortable condition of life. It is human nature to want to run away from anything that inflicts pain and since problems inflict pain, we dislike them.
So where is my logic here? If we say there is an understandable reason why man dislikes pain and runs away from problems, why should I still call problems and pain a blessing? The reason is because man is not only made of body or flesh. Remember we say it is the human flesh or body that runs away from pain, but apart from the flesh, man also consists of spirit and soul. Problems therefore act as a stimulant to the soul of man. Problems challenge our mind which is a dominant part of our soul.
THE PARADOX OF PROBLEMS
Wisdom therefore demands that despite the pain the body suffers, sometimes problems must still be welcomed to challenge the mind in order to engage the soul so as to give birth to something superior. The pain that is inflicted by sickness pushes us to challenge our minds, to come up with research and studies that will eventually lead to a medical solution.
“Facing problems? Good. Even cocoon does. It makes the wings stronger you know.” ― Vikrmn
The discomfort that darkness caused man, pushed us to engage the mind to come up with the solution of electricity. The limitation and pain that was caused by a lack of means of transportation led to the invention of automobiles, planes, ships, railways, etc. The agony and sorrow that comes from death led humanity to engage the mind leading to the invention of hospitals, pharmacy, and medicine.
“The problem suggests the solution.” ― Tom Payne
So my friends, whatsoever the pain you need to endure, whatever the nature of problems that you are facing, you could actually convert that pain to result in the productivity of the mind. Every problem must be converted to a challenge for the mind. Every problem should be viewed as a chance, as an opportunity, as a privilege to redirect the pain or discomfort coming from that problem to engage the mind for a better solution. That is the key to problems becoming blessings.
God in His infinite wisdom, has set up life in such a way that life is made up of a series of problems. Maybe better said, life is a circle of problems. Just when you think you have overcome all the problems around, you fall into another circle of some other problems. Just when you are about to finish resolving those ones, you have new ones waiting for you on the horizon. So friends you will never come out of troubles, for which I whole heartedly congratulate you! It gives me an opportunity to enjoy hearty laughter when I hear people say they look forward to overcoming all their problems soon. I take my time to use the occasion to have a good laugh, because it will never happen. Nobody will ever come out of his circle of problems on this side of life.
NO PROBLEM, NO LIFE
Life itself is woven in problems. As a matter of fact, life ceases to be life without problems. Life in itself is synonymous with problems. They are two sides of the same coin. Most of us like to dream of having a family. So for you to have a family you need to marry, but once you marry you invite into your life at least more problems to deal with. To live with another human being under the same roof, gives you at least more problems than you had before. Just as you are getting used to each other and think it is time to settle down and enjoy life, then you probably begin to have the thought of having your own child, and with that process a new problem is initiated. Because with the pregnancy, the lady begins a 9 month process of continuous pain. Meanwhile the pain and discomfort of the wife causes sleepless nights for the husband. Welcome to a life of problems.
If you survive it after 9 months and you have just started rejoicing for the new born baby that has arrived into your family. Soon thereafter, just as you are about to settle down to the thought that you are a happy family, then the reality dawns on you that you might need another car or you need to get a nanny or you need to work harder to save money for the education of the child. All kinds of problems that you had never thought of before you got married, begin to surface left, right and center in your life. All because you desired to have a better life. A better life attracts bigger problems. Soon you might want to have a bigger apartment, which means you need more money. In some families the time comes when they want to have a second baby and the process starts all over again.
Soon that child will need to go from primary to secondary school. The child will need to be clothed, fed, school fees paid and education needs to be provided. Secondary school education leads to a higher institution where responsibilities are even higher. Then the child, now grown up, will need to find a job, where he will discover the salary is small and that he needs to pay for an apartment and get a car for himself, after which he will desire to marry. And the circle repeats itself again and again.
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
So the circle of life is a circle of problems. It’s a parallel line that goes together. Ladies and gentlemen, life is made up of problems, meaning problems are a part and parcel of life, so nobody can avoid them. It is not possible. The best response to problems is to learn how to creatively respond to them. The million dollar question is, how do I view problems in a way so that they become a blessing and not a curse?
Problems are such an integral part of life that we cannot physically survive on planet earth without them. Everything about man is about problems. In fact man himself and his composition is all about problems. The composition of man is about problem solving. Everything in life revolves around problems and problem solving. In fact, you are irrelevant in the world without problems. No one is needed on earth without problems because we are all created to solve problems.
WE ARE CREATED FOR PROBLEMS
Don’t just take me at my words, let’s look at the facts. Everything in man is about problems:
Your eyes are there to resolve the problem of sight.
Your mouth is about problems. It’s given to you to resolve the problem of eating, swallowing and speech.
Your nose is a problem solver. Your nose resolves the problem of breathing.
Your ears are given to you to resolve the problem of hearing.
The hair on your head is given to you to solve problems.
Your eyebrows solve problems.
Your womb as a woman is a problem solver.
Your hands solve problems.
Your teeth solve problems or you would not be able to chew food.
Your nails solve problems.
Your legs solve problems.
Your gender is for solving problems.
I hope now my friends, it’s easier for you to see that life is about problems. We are all created to solve problems. As a matter of fact, you yourself would not be needed on planet earth if you were not solving problems. It is because of problems that you have food on your table. Why? Because you go to work. Your job is to solve a problem. Whatever work you do is about solving problems.
“When I feel the heat, I see the light.” ― Everett Dirksen
YOUR PROBLEM IS YOUR BLESSING
If you are a doctor, it is because you solve problems. The problem of somebody’s health. Thanks to the fact that somebody is sick that is why you are needed as a doctor.
If you are a lawyer, it is thanks to the fact that other people have problems that is why you are needed as a lawyer.
You are only relevant as an engineer because some people need mobility and have technically related problems. That is why you are needed. You would not be needed if it were not for problems.
If you are a pilot, you are only needed because you are going to solve people’s problems. People need to fly.
If you are a teacher you are there to solve problems; the problem of people’s ignorance.
If you are a tailor, you are there to solve the problem of clothing people.
If you are a scientist, you are there to solve the problem of progress. There are things that need to be invented and reinvented.
If you are a hair dresser, it is because some people have the problem of beauty they need to solve, that is why you are needed.
If you are a makeup artist, stylist, the only reason why you go to work, have food on the table and have a salary, is because you are solving people’s problem.
If you are a chef, thank God somebody is hungry.
If you are a politician it is because people need to be governed. Nations and societies need to be governed.
If you are a banker or economist it’s thanks to the fact that people have problems with their finances.
What I am trying to say ladies and gentlemen, is that everything we have in our lives today is thanks to problems. So problems are not necessarily as bad as we think. Everything we possess today, we have thanks to problems. You have a salary today because you are solving a problem for which you get paid. You put food on your table thanks to problems. In addition, someone resolved the problem of that food by producing the food for you. Then you were able to buy it, because you resolved other people’s problems and that gave you the means to provide for your family. The clothing you are wearing is because of a problem that was resolved.
The house you are living in, the shoes you are wearing are all as a result of problems. Everything you have today is a blessing that has come to your life thanks to problems. If you get hungry, that is a problem and an opportunity. You have a problem and somebody has an opportunity of making money. If you catch a cold, somebody else has an opportunity of making money. If it is hot in your house that is a problem for you, but a blessing to another person. If you hurt your leg, it is a problem for you, but a blessing to someone else. In the process of child birth, despite the pain and discomfort, there are a lot of people who get blessed. As a matter of fact, if you die, it is a problem for your family, but a blessing to some others!
A PROBLEM IS AN INVITATION AND AN ACCESS
A problem therefore is an invitation for money. A problem is an invitation for jobs. A problem is an invitation for employment. A problem is an invitation to an engagement. A problem is an invitation to communication. A problem is an invitation to relationship. A problem is an invitation.
A problem therefore is an access. A problem gives you access to realize yourself. It is an access to self-actualization. It is an access to your future. It is an access to opportunities. It is an access into other people’s lives. It is an access to a new environment. It is an access to promotion. It is an access to family. It is an access to blessing. It is an access to friendship.
PROBLEMS DEFINE YOUR SIGNIFICANCE
Problems therefore define your significance in life. For example, if you decide to take on small problems in life, that problem will define you. The size of your problem determines the size of your success. A baggage handler that puts the luggage in the plane will never earn the same salary as the pilot who flies the plane. A nurse and doctor will never earn the same amount of money, even though they work in the same hospital. The janitor and the manager will never earn the same income. The judge and the secretary will never earn the same wage.
“I smile at every circumstance that comes my way because I don’t expected life to be an easy journey.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
The size of the problem that you decide to confront, decides your significance in life. If you decide to run away from problems and only address minor problems, your significance will remain minor your whole life. But those who dare to step out and confront bigger problems enjoy a greater amount of significance in life. The same thing goes with preparation. When you decide to take your time and pay a higher price for preparation, you are indeed taking more problems on yourself. Yet on the other hand, that is what makes you become of greater significance in life.
The level of training that one acquires to a large extent, determines the kind of problem they solve which in turn determines the significance they have. For example the baggage handler may have trained for a few months, while the pilot trained for about 5 years to be able to fly passengers. The doctor spends 6 years in training, while the nurse spends less years, hence their level of earning and significance.
The point I am making is that we should not despise problems nor regard them as something to run away from. We should rather consider them as our opportunity to be challenged for a greater height. It is only primitive and uninformed people that run away from problems. Any society whose philosophy of life in regards to problems is that of negativity, will never really see true development. On the other hand, societies where problems are viewed as challenges to be resolved, go ahead to become advanced and prosperous.
If we are to rise above our mediocre lifestyle, we must change our philosophy to problems. We must begin to see problems as a means to blessings. Problems are our invitation for rewards not for curses. No person is needed on planet earth and no nation is necessary here, if they are not resolving one problem or the other.
WE ARE ALL USELESS WITHOUT A PROBLEM
Even you my dear reader are useless and unnecessary until someone can call on you to solve a problem. Thanks to the fact that you are invited to resolve a problem, you can become somebody. If there were no problems to be resolved, you would not be employed. Without problems you would never be paid a salary. As a matter of fact, if there were no problems, your uniqueness would never be discovered. It is problems that bring out who you are. Your uniqueness, your peculiarity and your abilities.
We must begin to realize that anywhere there is a problem, there is a future. Problems challenge us to face the future. Problems challenge us to face the unknown. Problems challenge us to resolve the unresolved. Problems push us from our comfort zone. Problems force us to advancement and progress. Problems give us the opportunity to taste what we have never tasted before.
Everybody’s future is tied to a problem. Joseph’s future was concealed in the problem before him. At every junction of his life before he could attain the next level, a new problem was waiting for him. The same thing for us. Our future is hidden in problems. Moses is another example of the fact that our future is tied to problems. At birth he was called Moses, because of the future he was carrying, he ended up in a basket because of that future. He was adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh because of the future ahead of him. He killed an Egyptian because of the future deliverer he was supposed to be. He became a fugitive because of the future deliverer he was supposed to be. Our destiny is always tied to a problem. Our tomorrow cannot be unveiled but through a problem.
Jacob, Paul and Jesus all proved the fact that there is no future without problems, there is no fulfillment without problems. Should we still keep on running away from problems?
YOUR PROMOTION IS IN YOUR PROBLEM
When God decides to promote a man, He gives him a problem. When God decided to promote Esther He gave her a problem. When God decided to promote Ruth He took her husband. When God decided to promote David He sent Goliath. When God decided to promote Joseph He sent hunger. When God wanted to promote Daniel, He allowed him to enter the lion’s den. When God decided to promote Paul, He made him blind. When God decided to promote Peter, He gave him a confusing dream. Every promotion is connected to problems. When God decided to promote Jesus, He killed Him. Therefore making all knees to bow before Him and making every tongue to confess Him as Lord.
Problems and pain, provide us with an opportunity to grow because that is when we are ready to listen, learn and change, otherwise we are full of ourselves as usual. I know that myself from my own personal experience, I have been there. Pain and problems help us remember past lessons. Pain and problems teach us endurance. Pain and problems make us to live in consciousness, in the here and now. Pain and problems provide us with an opportunity to grow. The greatest damage and decadence in life is not to have problems to solve.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope in this article, I have been able to open your eyes to problems and their blessings. This is a philosophical issue. It is about an approach to life. It is a world view question. I really hope you now understand that it is the right world view to have a positive attitude towards problems. And I hope you now see how detrimental it could be to have a mindset of running away from problems.
Societies that are not proactive in relation to problems, always lag behind in development. While nations that turn their problems to constructive challenges, become advanced and developed. If any nation would successfully conduct a campaign to change the world view of their populace towards problems, there would be no limit to the progress and advancement of such nations. They would be liberated to forcefully attack every problem in the society leading to an abundance of opportunities and results.
Businesses and wealth would be available in abundance to such people only because they have a creative and positive attitude towards problems. There is no ending to what I could tell you about the blessings of problems, but I will leave the rest to the book that will be birthed out of this article.
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