What do you do with your problems? Avoid them? Become frustrated? Pursue ethical creativity? Worry constantly?

Here are some examples of problem-solving strategies found in the first book of the Bible:

When Abraham was afraid he lied and told the pharaoh that Sarah was his sister (Genesis 12:13).

When Sarah grew impatient about being childless she gave her servant to Abraham (Genesis 16:1-2).

When Jacob became jealous of his brother Esau he deceived his father Isaac so that he would receive the family blessing instead (Genesis 27:18-19).

When Jacob feared his brother’s anger he changed geography, moving to another country (Genesis 28:10).

In each of these situations, the problem-solving strategies only served to complicate their lives — complications that continued to impact the generations that followed. In response, God extended His grace, and His purposes were ultimately accomplished. However, one is left wondering whether history would have been different had these problems been addressed with honesty, integrity and faith.

Are you tempted to use ethical creativity or dishonesty to solve your problems? Is worry or frustration keeping you awake at night? Here are a few more questions. How big is your problem measured against God’s power, wisdom, goodness and love? Learn from the Patriarchs and trust God first.

Dear Father, I move quickly to self-reliance, self-effort and often to self-made solutions that are not honoring you and do not reflect your wisdom. My fear and lack of faith leads to worry and frustration. I confess my unholy self-confidence and place myself afresh in your hands. I know you are far better at problem solving than me. I place my confidence in you. Amen.

Go Deeper — What problem have you recently tried to handle by yourself? How did that go for you? What if you had turned to God instead?

Tags: The Patriarchs Psalm 31
Photo Credit: james ballard