From the South Tower Observation Deck of the World Trade Center the world seemed small, it’s problems manageable. Down there in the harbor, Lady Liberty stands straight, confident that America is the place to bring your problems and find solutions.
At the base of the monument in the Museum are these words:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus, 1883
Give me your tired, your poor…
That’s what the world thought of us at one time. America is the place to go. Your life will be better there. Your problems will be solved. It might not be easy, but at least you have a chance there. America began in response to problems in Europe. Our beginnings are unique, like no other country. The experiment that is America has been a beacon to people the world over that life and liberty are possible. Come here and we will accept you and your problems and do our best to turn them around.
M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled wrote:
It is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed they create our courage and wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually….It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct.”
The greatness of America is most clearly demonstrated when we pull out our megaphones and cry out, Problems, Problems, we want your problems, come here and let’s work together to solve them.
This is just as true for you and me. Seeking a life without any problems is a waste of a good life. I’ve never sat around and wished for a basket full of problems. I’m not suggesting that you go looking for a good problem every day this week. Problems have a way of finding us anyhow. But when problems come, let’s turn into the wind, put down roots and use our God given tools to make a difference.
I love complainers who have constructive ideas in mind. On one hand they see something wrong. On the other hand they have a solution. I must confess, it’s not easy to love complainers of any kind, but if I am going to love them, let me love the ones who have gotten past complaining for complaining sake and have moved into the deeper thinking of how to solve the problems. They may not have the perfect solution but they are committed to making a difference.
Our problems are our opportunities. Your problems are usually surmountable. If not, you can adapt. Problems need not kill us or our spirit.
I think God actually likes it when we think of Him when we begin to face our problems. Like the torch at the highest point of the Statue of Liberty, turning toward God sheds the most light on our problems and gives us a fantastic perspective.
Here are a few words from Paul, who faced a slew of terrible problems.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13