Sometimes the “obvious” or “easy” answer is not the right answer. Other times it is.
Take for example, the pic to the left. (I “borrowed” the idea but the graphic is mine). The problem is “Find ‘X'”, which is easy enough to do. Except that the real problem is “Find the value of ‘X’ based on the other information presented.”
We see this kind of thing all of the time. Hot examples of our time that come to my mind are social responsibility and environmentalism. In both cases, there are definite problems that need to be addressed. But our current direction as a culture reflects an incomplete understanding of the real problem.
Yes, we should definitely take care of the poor and require justice for the oppressed. Yes, we should absolutely take care of the earth. But we must understand that no amount of human effort will ultimately undo the problems and the evil that is behind those problems.
Instead, we must understand our current problems within the much larger context of eternity. We must seek a perspective that is larger than our time. Indeed – larger than the context of all time.
But enough about those two examples. How can we find answers? Well, here are a few ideas to get your minds going:
- Understand the problem – Ask good questions of yourself. Continue working to define the problem until can’t find anything remaining that you don’t understand.
- Understand the problem’s context – Ask yourself questions that allow you to begin understanding the problem in larger ways. Examine the problem in the context of eternity.
- Look for existing answers – Start in the Bible. What does Jesus say about this problem? How is it defined in the context of a fallen world and humanity? What have other Christians – the “great cloud of witnesses” – understood and addressed it?
- Search for practical answers – Few things are more useless than theory that defies application. How can you be involved in the answer? How can you partner with God as he addresses the ills of the world?
- Help others understand the problem and its context – Ask good questions of others. Work to expand perspective and understanding. Point your answers to their questions towards the Bible.
- Continue growing, learning, questioning, and answering – Understand that we never understand completely. Continue to be open to others within the context of what is written in the Bible
What are the problems that you see in the world? What are the problems that you’ve been asking God about? How can you be part of the solution?