In the previous sermon, we saw that Cod wanted Jonah to go and preach against the city of Nineveh, but Jonah did not want to go, so he tried to run away from God. We learned that we must always yield to God's will. If we disobey God's will, our lives can fall apart as Jonah's did. On the other hand, if we obey God, we can live successful and prosperous lives. Today, we continue with Lesson 2.
Learn how to cope with problems
Jonah had a problem: God wanted him to go and preach to the city of Nineveh, but Jonah refused to obey God's will. To flee from the Lord, Jonah boarded a ship and sailed for Tarshish.
During that journey, the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and a violent storm arose that threatened to break up the ship. After discovering that the storm was God's judgment on Jonah's disobedience, the ship's crew threw him into the sea.
Since he did not have a life jacket and could not call on the Coast Guard to rescue him, Jonah was in big trouble. He had a serious problem.
Today's lesson is about problem-solving. How does God want us to respond to problems?
Problems are inevitable (James 1:2-4)
James does not say if you face trials, but when you face them. He assures us that we will have trials in this world. In the Bible, many God-fearing people experienced problems.
- King Hezekiah had health problems that threatened his life.
- Daniel was thrown into a I ion's den because he would not pray to the Persian king.
- In the New Testament, Peter was jailed for preaching the Word of God.
All of us have problems. At some point, every believer will experience family problems, work-related problems, financial problems, or health problems.
Turn to Cod for assistance
When Jonah was drowning in the sea, he immediately prayed to God for help (Jonah 2:1-10). God answered his prayer by sending a fish that rescued Jonah and eventually vomited him onto dry land. When we face problems, we should first ask God for help; He can provide us with assistance, and He can deliver us from our problems.
- King Hezekiah prayed for God's help after he learned from Isaiah that he was going to die from his illness. The Lord heard his prayer and added 15 years to his life.
- When Daniel was in the lion's den, God sent an angel to rescue him.
- While Peter was jailed for preaching the Word of God, the church prayed earnestly for him, and within hours, God sent an angel to deliver him.
When we face problems, God has the power to conquer them (2 Samuel 22:2). No matter what problem you may encounter, God can deliver you from it. Whatever your problems may be, God can solve them. There is nothing too small or too large for God to handle.
Wait patiently for God's assistance
God had promised the great patriarch Abram that he and his wife Sarah would one day have a son (Genesis 15). However, since Abram and Sarah were both quite old, they decided not to wait for God's promise. Instead, Sarah took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar, her maidservant, to Abram.
Before long, Abram slept with Hagar, and she conceived. But soon after the child was born, Sarah became jealous, mistreated Hagar, and became angry with Abram. Because Sarah did not wait for God's solution to her dilemma, she caused problems for herself and for her family.
If we try to solve our problems without waiting for God's assistance, we make things worse. When dealing with problems, we need to have patience and give God time to intervene.
Maintain a positive attitude and remain faithful to our Lord (Hebrews 12:2-3)
We must never allow our problems to consume us or cause us to lose our spiritual focus. Instead, we are to fix our eyes on Jesus and maintain a positive outlook on life.
Today we have learned a few principles on how to handle our problems. First, we must realize that problems are inevitable. And when we face problems, we should turn to God for assistance. Then we must wait patiently for God's assistance, maintain a positive attitude, and remain faithful to our Lord.
If the problems of this world have been weighing you down, come to God today, and ask for Hisassistance. He can rescue you.
General Conference Ministerial Association