Frances and I were discussing a particular challenge recently. "Well, it's just a problem we'll have to deal with," I said, but then caught myself (or rather, the Holy Spirit caught and convicted me). "No," I added, "it's actually an opportunity to trust the Lord and see Him work" (which was likely what Frances was already thinking, although she was too gracious to say it!).
"I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:10).
The Apostle Paul did not make this statement from the basis of great faith, although it takes much confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ to declare such a thing. The faithfulness of God was rather the dynamic motivation and power whereby Paul testified. He had long seen his Lord revealed in the trials, pains, and losses of life. The Apostle had learned that need, in whatever form, offers the possibility of seeing the glory of Christ in ways that abundance and comfort can never display. As with all believers who walk with God, Paul's perspective was progressively transformed throughout his lifetime - "changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" - and we are the beneficiaries because of his inspired testimony (II Corinthians 3:18).
Normal human reasoning affirms that problems are problems, or as my brain often suggests, problems are actually disaster(!), catastrophe(!), and end of life as we know it(!). Conversely, the Word of God and the Spirit of God declare problems to be opportunities to know, love, trust, obey, and communicate the Lord Jesus to our world. As we walk with our Lord over time, His trustworthiness shines so brightly in the challenges of life that we find ourselves enabled to see opportunity where once we saw calamity. As with Paul, the primary issue is not our faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God. A personal history of His working in our lives provides the basis for the Holy Spirit to catch and convict us, as it were. "Opportunity" He affirms. And more and more we affirm it with Him even if our flesh screams or whispers otherwise.
No one has ever trusted the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and been disappointed for doing so. And no one ever will. This is the light that shines more and more brightly in the heart of the trusting Christian as time passes, and as eternity arises within us to reveal the perfect trustworthiness of He who is "called Faithful and True" (Revelation 19:11). Opportunity. This moment and this day offer it in the context of difficulty, and we can expect the Holy Spirit to move within us to ensure that we see our God-saturated life as it truly is.
"Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds."