21 Reasons Why God Might Allow ‘Problems’ In Our Lives

Reading Time: 9 minutes

We cannot escape problems in this life. They could be painful, stressful, or simply inconvenient. It doesn’t really matter what the problems are — that’s all relative to each person. The question we often ponder, however, is: who causes those problems, and why? Many, without fear, blame God. Others, simply shift the blame to Satan. After all, God can’t be behind our painful problems…can he? I suggest God is not the author of our problems, but He doesn’t let them go to waste either. We don’t see the big picture while we’re experiencing a problem, but there’s something bigger happening.

21 Reasons Why God Might Allow 'Problems' In Our Lives

Here are 21 ways God allowed and used ‘problems’ in the lives of people in Scripture:

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The Church Is Not a Democracy

Seeking God’s Will, Not Our Own

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We vote on our government, we voice our opinions, and we value fairness – we call it democracy.  The Church, however, is not a democracy, but a theocracy.


Let me briefly define what I mean.  A Church Democracy is when all members can fairly voice their opinion to reach an agreement.  A Church Theocracy is when all members pray to seek God’s will and submit by expressing themselves accordingly.

A theocracy is an interesting concept that we understand in principle, but not always in practice.  A Church Theocracy is when all members pray to seek God’s will and submit accordingly. Click To TweetIt’s fair to say we understand that God’s will is ultimate and higher than our own.  When God’s will, however, is different than our will, we sometimes lose sight of the theocracy and move towards a democracy.  It sounds fair to us, but when we cross this line, we welcome “politics” into the ministry of the Church.  And let’s face it – Jesus is coming back and we don’t have the time to waste.

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that church politics are not already happening.

Here are 3 situations by where the Church must operate theocratically and not democratically:

1. Voting For Leadership

Whether we are voting for Executive leadership, local pastors or board deacons, we are always seeking the person God has already chosen.  We pray for God to reveal to us who He has already chosen. #Theocracy Click To TweetI love when the disciples were looking to replace Judas’ apostolic position:

And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”  And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”1

Our vote is based on God’s will, not our own.  We pray for God to reveal to us who He has already chosen.  As a result, we don’t base our vote on our personal will (opinions, expectations, or concerns); rather, we base our vote on God’s will.  We have to remain true to this, even when our will seems different than God’s.

2. Looking for Direction and Potential Change

When we’re determining what direction to go towards, it seems good to go in the direction most people can agree on.  When God leads us within a #theocracy, He will guide us into the direction of His perfect will. Click To TweetEven though leading people and directing change requires buy-in and dedication, we can’t solely use that indicator for our decision making.  If we do, then we could potentially miss out on God’s will.  Especially if God’s will involves taking a risk.  Generally speaking, people like the safe option before the risky one, and God likes the risky option before the safe one.  I’ve witnessed this in the simple fact that we have no choice but to rely on God when we choose the riskier option.

When God leads us within a theocracy, He will guide us into the direction of His perfect will.  David, the man after god’s own heart, asked God to teach him “His paths” because he was sold out to His leadership:

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord;

teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all the day long.”2

3. Asking God to Answer Our Prayer Requests

We all bring requests to God.  Sometimes we are desperately asking for healing, consistently praying for the salvation of a loved one, or otherwise daily praying for our circumstances to change.  God wants us to bring our requests before him, and when we do, we know He hears us.

With that said, God doesn’t answer our requests based on the number of times we ask (casting a democratic prayer, if you will).  Sometimes I feel like the Church views prayer in that way – the more we ask, the more God answers.  We may not actually believe that on paper, but it seems fair in practice.  The more we pray, however, the more we will understand God’s theocratic will.  The goal is never for our will to be met; rather, for God’s will to be praised.  It means we should be more about seeking God’s will, than asking for a “yes.” The more we pray...the more we will understand God’s theocratic will. #theocracy Click To Tweet

When teaching about prayer, Jesus clearly explained the focus is always on God the Father.  “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10).  Jesus later described a prayer life that included “asking”, but more importantly, described a life of prayer that seeks after God’s will and desires a deep relationship with Him (7:7f).

Final thought…

Christianity is all about selflessness and serving the King.  If we want to experience God’s will, then we must be willing to forfeit our will.  It may be tempting to call this a dictatorship. That distinction, however, can’t be found when our God has given us the most selfless gift – the cross.  A true theocracy involves God providing for His followers and for his followers to selflessly serve Him. Let’s live it out.

Your turn…

Do we hunger after our will, or God’s will?  Do we pray to understand God’s will?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com). 

References   [ + ]

New Year Resolutions (Part 3)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As we look forward to another wonderful year, many of us make new year resolutions.  Maybe this year we can set goals that help us grow spirituality over the next twelve months.  As Christians, we should be growing together in terms of three concepts: worshiping God, loving others, and serving.  Perhaps this year we can challenge ourselves with building stronger relationships within these three areas.

In part one, we looked at our relationship with God.  In part two, we looked at our relationship with others.  In this post, we’ll look at our relationship within the Body of Christ.

Our relationship within the Body of Christ

The body of Christ is the Church.  If you’re a Christian, you’re a part of the body.   As the body, we work together to serve those around us as Christ has instructed us to do.  Within Paul’s discussion on spiritual gifts and unity, Paul explained it this way:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body…and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.[i]

All of us have something unique to offer.  When we all serve together, we become the hands and feet of Christ and are able to fulfill His purposes.  We can look at it like this:

1)      There is one overall purpose – God’s will

2)      There is one body – the Church

3)      There are many parts – there is a place for everyone to serve

4)      There are many functions – everyone serves and contributes in their own way

5)      A hand cannot be a foot – one person cannot do every job and no one can replace someone else

6)      The body working together – God’s will accomplished

There are many different ways we can serve within the body.  The key is finding how God has gifted you, realize you’ve been gifted in that area to serve God, and go for it!  One area is not better than the other, they are just different.  For example, a musical gifting is no better than someone who serves as an usher.

We all need to find a way to serve.  In fact, in order to truly be a part of the Church, we all need to find a place to serve.  If the body of Christ is the Church, and the body needs active members serving in their unique way in order to fulfill God’s will, then the entire Church needs to be a part of body in order for success.  That said, the will of God will be accomplished either way.  The question is: will we choose be a part of it or will we allow the few to do their job and ours?  Unfortunately, the latter eventually leads to burnout and ineffectiveness.

Where will you serve this year?  Will you try something new?  Will you continue to serve?  Will you continue to be a part of the body of Christ?  Be a part of the body of Christ and grow this year!


From our home to yours, have a blessed and wonderful year!

Check out part one and two of “New Year Resolutions”


[i] 1 Cor 12:12-14, NIV.