The Norman Transcript

Religion

July 12, 2013

Answering the ‘what’ questions

NORMAN — How we think about problems in life has a significant influence on our mental state and the way we think about God.

Dr. Scott Peck, in “The Road Less Traveled,” believes that the first step toward mental health is accepting that problems in life are normal. He believes the second step toward mental health is learning the tools to deal with life’s problems. This is not necessarily an original thought.

Jesus shared the same thought in John 16:33: “In me you will have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

Remember the context of this passage. The previous week, Jesus re-emphasized to his disciples that he had come not to set up an earthly kingdom, but to travel to Jerusalem to die. Pretty discouraging news.

It must have been confusing to them to then see him ride into Jerusalem and be treated as an arriving monarch.

I believe he knew they needed another reminder, lest they think he might be persuaded to become Israel’s king. He, therefore, told them that life was really going to be hard, but if they abided in him while they were going through those difficulties, He would give them peace in the midst of the turmoil.

The fact that problems are normal is emphasized again in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “For there hath no trial taken you but such that is common to man …”

Why don’t we get that? If we did, I do not think there would be as much self-doubt and doubt of the love and provision of God.

“In me you will have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33

Our task is to learn to ask the “what” questions, not the “why” questions. The “why” questions may never be answered in our lifetime, other than the fact that problems are a normal part of life in a fallen world with people who have a free will that God will not violate.

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