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Your biggest problems are not actually your biggest problem - I Do Every Day - December 20, 2022

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Your biggest problems are not actually your biggest problem
By Dave Boehi

Think of the people you know who have experienced trials and suffering over the last year. Those who have lost someone they love. Or felt betrayed by a spouse. Or experienced significant sickness or injury. Think of the suffering or heartache you’ve faced.

While driving to work recently, I found myself absorbed in the old hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” especially the line, “…and ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile here …”

When Jesus was born, God’s people literally lived in captivity—they were ruled by the Romans, hoping for a hero to rescue them from their practical, tangible suffering.

But their captivity was spiritual, too—they had gone 400 years without hearing God’s voice. They were not experiencing the blessings of His guidance and provision; He seemed absent.

And then when Jesus finally showed up, He was born in a barn, surrounded by livestock, as a helpless baby, completely dependent upon his impoverished parents.

Not exactly the caped crusader the Israelites had been hoping for.

Jesus went on to live His entire life under the rule of an ungodly and despotic foreign power. Even during His public ministry, He focused on setting the people of Israel free from spiritual exile rather than physical bondage.

Like Israel, we tend to think our biggest problems are in the physical realm. We want to be able to finally resolve that same fight with our spouse that keeps coming up, we want more help with the kids or the house or the finances, we want to see our kids have a better relationship with their stepparent or relief from a difficult ex-spouse.

Yet our biggest problems are actually spiritual in nature. Even if we don’t realize it, we all “mourn in lonely exile” when we are not connected to God because being connected to Him is our ultimate purpose. Jesus didn’t come to take away our problems (be it an unjust government or even a troubled marriage). He came to take away the sin that broke our connection with God, so that connection could be restored.

Our unresolved problems are not evidence God is absent. On the contrary, Immanuel—“God with us”—came specifically so that, when we go through the suffering that is inevitable in this life, we can have hope, because He is with us.

Have you ever considered that the core issues in your marriage are actually spiritual or that spiritual forces might be fighting against you? Listen to Tim Muehlhoff’s perspective on spiritual warfare in your marriage.

The Good Stuff: She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:21-23)

Action Points: What physical problems in your life have the power to make you feel like you are in bondage? Do you have a tendency to only turn to God when you need to be rescued? Don’t let tunnel vision of your suffering keep you from experiencing God’s presence in it. Ask God to give you eyes to see His presence in practical and tangible ways, and then start looking for Him to show up.

I Do Every Day Let’s Go Vertical! prayer guide

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