Few lessons are learned better than those through parenting. Endless lessons are gained by observing children. In parenting a toddler, I’ve come to the realization that my son is incapable of grasping the greatest solution to his problems. After an enjoyable morning in the park, he always cries when it’s time to leave. He’s supremely confident that more time spent at play is the solution to his problems. At such a young age, he’s simply incapable of understanding that his loving father has his best interests at heart by taking him home to nap. His perceived solution to continue playing fails to address his greatest problem of needing rest.
I’ve learned that this problem doesn’t go away with maturity. Adults likewise instinctively assume to know the answers to their problems. As a result, we often settle for superficial solutions. Like a toddler, we do this because we’ve failed to rightly identify our fundamental problems. This failure leads to everything from anxiety, bitterness, and hopelessness in never fixing the real issues. Our only hope is for God to open our eyes to our greatest need. He does this by providing us with the ultimate solution.
Jesus revealed this solution by first exposing his hearers’ heart problems. When speaking with the Samaritan woman at a well in John 5, Jesus focused on what mattered most. Instead of emphasizing her perceived problem of lacking a husband, He focused on her spiritual need for salvation. Jesus defined this ultimate solution as the gift of eternal life (5:14) and a transformed heart desiring to “worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (5:23). Jesus identified her greatest problem and lovingly spoke to her greatest need. Jesus likewise addressed the spiritual needs before the physical needs in Mark 2. When some men brought a paralytic to Jesus, He first addressed the heart issue (“Son, your sins are forgiven”, 2:5) and then the perceived problem (“I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 2:11).
For the Christian, the implications of Jesus’ teachings are vast. We must not assume we fully understand our problems. Instead, we must desperately depend on the Holy Spirit to illuminate and guide us in our ignorance. Jesus promised a Helper would come to convict us of heart sins (John 16:8) followed by “guiding us into all the truth.” (John 16:13). Jesus’ teachings also serve as a warning not to settle for lesser solutions than God’s promises. God’s plans for His people are far greater than merely the problems of today being taken away. His solutions are often not the ones leading to comfort and ease. God’s perfect solution is to restore His people. This restoration is accomplished through Christ’s redeeming work in salvation and sanctification (1 Peter 5:10). Man’s foolishness settles for temporary solutions, while the Father’s wisdom results in heart transformation through His Son. As Jesus powerfully proclaimed in Matthew 18:14, “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” Trust in God’s perfect solution of restoration in your life.
Therefore, until we get to the root of our problems, we’ll never realize God’s ultimate solution. While perhaps temporarily satisfying, superficial solutions will always insufficiently deal with our greatest heart issue. The beautiful reality for the child of God is the confident assurance that our loving Father knows our greatest needs. One day my son will realize that his father loved him enough to solve his greatest problems. Christian, believe that your heavenly Father knows your greatest need and will provide the necessary heart solution. Though we might not fully understand God’s purposes in this moment, may we fully entrust ourselves to the God who “supplies all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)