My friend and I were discussing our current respective problems. We agreed that we have both come far in inner strength and problem solving skills since the death of our husbands. After we hung up, I sat with the phone in my hand, as the pain and fear from problems that I experienced in those first months, even years, of being a widow came flooding back.
After my husband died, every problem seemed a giant tsunami about to drown me. I would panic like the sky was falling. “Oh, my Lord, what am I gonna do…what am I gonna do…what am I gonna do?” would be a repetitive high-pitched refrain playing in my head.
I was terrified the entire time I called out to God for help, caught between faith and doubt, with doubt more or less winning out.
After a number of years of this scenario repeating, I reached a point where I would, taking a deep breath, say, “Okay, Lord, here’s another one, just in line with all the rest.” It seemed that all I had was problems, and I still shook, but chose not to panic. I had begun to learn that panic only made the problem worse, and that I could handle at least some things, and that I could trust in God’s help.
Today I know that I don’t have to have perfect faith or even a lot of it to get problems solved. All I need do is use what faith I have; more will be given as needed. Our God is a generous and merciful God.
It is St. James who tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV)
Our Lord Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Today I know—even if I often have to remind myself—that problems are gifts. Now, generally one does not say this in the midst of them. I’m a woman, not a saint. While I have matured to usually control the panic, panic can still get the upper hand, especially when the incoming water pipe to the water heater breaks loose and is pouring water into the laundry room—and there is no shut-off valve. But God was quick that time and sent a neighbor and my son to help. Increased knowledge and relationships and the ability to ask for help were the gifts in that one—all figured out way after the fact.
Thanks to this trip down memory lane, today I know that God knows my limits better than I know them and already has an answer for that pesky problem I mentioned at the beginning of this post. My part is to ask God’s help, seek answers, and trust.