The Secret to Solving Persistent Problems

“Mom, you’re always in a rush to leave,” Jessica said, exasperated with me calling it quits on her latest decorating project. Our measurements indicated the wire baskets should be hanging level on the wall. After 45 minutes of trial and error, they hung cock-eyed. And my endurance waned.

Jessica’s words stung. In a fit of impatience, I had spoiled a gift … unexpected mother-daughter time to enjoy a rare “ladies only” night. Time to share thoughts and listen to plans for the future. Time to work side by side again on something we both enjoyed — decorating.

So, why the rush to leave for home? Was I really tired, or was I just frustrated with the unsolvable wall-hanging problem and ready to move on to whatever was next. Or was it my rush to get through the highway construction I dreaded navigating alone in the dark?

On the surface, I justified all three reasons. Yet, as I stared at the lop-sided baskets, my excuses unraveled  to expose a deeper part of my nature. That part of me that makes “to do” lists and needs to check off boxes. That part that reaches the end of my rope on a problem or difficulty and wants to be done with it. Like when I work Sudoku puzzles. My internal timer runs out and I flip to the answer page instead of turning the timer over and persisting.

I don’t want to go through valleys. I want to go around them. And if I can’t go around them, then I at least want to cut through on the shortest road possible. I’m that child who asks, “Aren’t we there yet?” Every five minutes. My endurance fades in the face of long, arduous trips.

The writer of the book of Hebrews encourages us to persevere in faith when we encounter troubles. To expect God’s deliverance … but in His time. To trust He is in control. And to believe Him when He says He is always with us. Times of testing are often times of training and character-building (although I often pester God to ask, “Don’t I have enough character?)

So, I admitted Jessica was right. I refocused on my reason for visiting in the first place — to spend time with her. I returned to the persistent crooked-basket problem and reset my internal timer. I would let the Creator create more “patience” in my character. And I would trust God to guide me safely through the winding highway and construction ahead.

Besides, what if the answer to my problem was just around the corner? What if my trouble was really training ground for something down the road? What if a bigger and better picture was in the making?

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. (Hebrews 10:36, NLT)

©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.

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About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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