Challenges That Transform

 photo: Roger Selverstene

None of us want to have problems in life.  That’s just simple human nature.  We don’t want to experience health problems, relationship difficulties, or financial insecurity, nor do we want to learn our kids are doing things they shouldn’t.  We all want to sail through life with as few challenges as possible.  There is nothing wrong with desiring a journey with few bumps, but as we all know, that’s just not the way life goes for most of us.  That is a given. What isn’t a given is our willingness to acknowledge our bumps -- to ourselves and to others.

Not only do we not want problems, but when we have them, many of us tend to deny them.  Some of us deny our problems because it is our way of coping and surviving.   But denial of our problems denies us the opportunity to grow spiritually.  The peace of avoidance and denial is not true peace. Richard Rohr, a well-known and respected spiritual writer and speaker, says spirituality in its best sense is what we do with our pain.  Spirituality is about transformation.  And when we don’t transform our pain, we end up transmitting it.  We transmit it to others, and we pass on the opportunity for growth that God is putting in front of us.

So how do we ensure that the problems we face in life transform us?  By truly trusting God.  Not trusting Him to solve or eliminate our problems, but trusting Him to give us the grace to hold our troubles, accept them and navigate our way through them.

When we face painful or difficult situations and deliberately, consciously and sincerely placed them God’s hands, we feel much more peace than we ever thought possible.  And the situations eventually resolve themselves in ways that may not be what we ideally hoped for, but that in hindsight reveal value far beyond what we could have initially imagined.