I’ve argued that every problem in our lives has a purpose. God never wastes pain. He uses it sparingly and always with a purpose. It’s the wise person who seeks to understand how God wants to work in our lives through the various kinds of 13 changing directionsuffering that He allows to enter in. The wisest man in the world, Solomon, often reflects on the purpose of pain and problems in life. From his reflections in the book of Proverbs we can learn about why God permits pain and problems in our lives. The first purpose I see is that God often uses a problem to direct me. I mean God often closes a door in my face because he wants me to take a different direction. I am such a strong willed individual that God will sometimes have to slam the door on me.

There are two passages in Proverbs that teach this truth. Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” The other passage is in Proverbs 22:15. It reads, “All children are foolish, but firm correction will make them change.” This truth is also seen in the New Testament. Hebrews 12:6, says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…” We all need discipline once in a while and God is faithful to provide it. That discipline is designed to change our path or redirect our steps to help us along our way on this journey of life. Like Jonah, I often don’t want to go where God wants me to go. I don’t always what to do what God wants me to do. Yet, I know His ways are best and the best thing I can do is submit to his discipline and redirect my path.

God often uses tough times to redirect our paths. It’s during those times we need to trust deeply in the loving concern God has for all His children; you and me! Knowing the Father’s love and concern should change the way we look at trials. He does not allow us to experience problems and struggles for no purpose. One of the main purposes of problems is to redirect our thoughts and actions. For those problems to be truly effective we must trust God. A final verse from Proverbs brings true perspective on the directions I should take in life. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” I like the way the old King James Version translates this passage. It says, “in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”