“BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF GOD.” -JESUS (MATTHEW 5:9)
WHEN YOU HELP SOLVE PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS THEY’LL SAY, “NOW THAT’S WHAT A CHRISTIAN LOOKS LIKE.”
Peacemakers are, by definition, problem solvers. In a world where people’s lives are like individual islands in an expansive ocean, peacemakers build bridges between these separated lives. The peacemaking that Jesus taught is about more than a treaty between two warring parties; it is about the removal of the problematic storms of life by someone’s action and wisdom. This promise of blessing through pacemaking requires initiative and action on me part of God’ people. It demands our personal involvement in the potentially messy circumstances of other people’s lives. Problem solvers are willing to take necessary risks in order to bring help and peace to others.. Problem solver not only discern the problem, they seek God’s wisdom and will concerning it. They’re willing to get involved in order to bring solutions. Jesus said that, when someone experiences or witnesses a problem solver at work, they’ll call the latter “the son of God.”
God Himself is a problem solver. As we examine the Scriptures. we see over and over where He intervened with humanity to meet our need and solve our problems. Even beginning with the first man Adam, Satan sought to box God into an inescapable corner. Satan knew that God loved His children, Adam and Eve. Satan also knew how God hates sin. The diabolic plot of the enemy was to put what God hates (sin) into what God loves (His children). So that if God were to love man, He would have to love sin. Or if God were to hate sin, He would have to hate man. Satan must have been gleeful with his master strategy by which he assumed he had outwitted God. But God had an answer as Genesis 3:15 discloses: “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” This is the first promise of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Man had a great overwhelming problem, sin, that separated us from God. God’s solution was perfect, eternal, and universal. Jesus died so we could be restored to God.
Abraham was a man whom God called and made covenant with. His family became a nation (Israel) and out of that nation came the Savior of the world. Abraham discovered the supernatural ability of His covenant with God to meet the needs of his life. After Abraham and his wife, Sarah, miraculously conceived a son at the ages of one-hundred and ninety, respectively, Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son to God. The greater meaning of this request was more than just the testing of Abraham’s heart and obedience. If Abraham were to offer his only son to God, God would be required to offer His only son to Abraham. God didn’t need Isaac, as the story ultimately reveals, but mankind desperately needed Jesus Christ.
And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:10-14)
Abraham found out that day that his God was a problem solver. Abraham called his name Jehovah Jireh– “the God who sees need and makes provision for it.”
Moses was called by God to lead his people out of bondage into freedom. The great strength of Egypt dominated and oppressed the impoverished slaves. But the slaves had something that the great Egyptian empire never had, Almighty God. God sovereignly delivered the slaves out of the grip of Egypt by miracles, signs, and wonders. This huge congregation of two million people was fed by God himself. He protected them by day with a cloud and by night with a pillar of fire. In Exodus 15:23-26 Moses witnesses the problem-solving power of God once again:
Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
When Israel faced the problems of sickness and disease they discovered the power of their problem-solving God to heal them. All through the Bible, as God’s people encountered various needs and difficulties, God gloriously used that troublesome circumstance to reveal His grace and power to meet the need and solve the problem. What happens through the process of experiencing problems and need is that, by then experiencing God ‘s rich supply of problem-solving grace, we grow to know much more about God. His nature, His love, His kindness, His power are all revealed and experienced in the answers He bestows upon us in meeting our need.
God is a peacemaker –a problem solver –and when we engage our lives to be available to solve problems and bring peace we are behaving like God. His likeness is then revealed in our actions. In this very troubled world, we as believers in Christ have the great opportunity to give witness to the grace and goodness of God through our lives. When God uses us to solve someone’s problems, it brings the testimony of God’s love and faithfulness to their lives.
I know we’re all called to witness the gospel of Christ to a lost world. But witnessing is more than a lesson or sermon. If we meet people’s needs and solve their problems we gain their attention to share why we’ve done so. Every Christian should be a peacemaking problem solver, not trusting in our human solutions alone but looking for God’s power and abilities to flow through us.
One such biblical figure who was a very successful problem solver was Joseph. When Joseph was young, God gave him the special gift of being able to interpret dreams. He began as a young man by interpreting his own dreams that he received from God. The dreams that God gave him infuriated his older brothers. Their jealousy turned into rage and they kidnapped and sold their younger brother (who happened to be their father’s favorite son) into slavery. Joseph’s hellish descent into great suffering and affliction didn’t end there. As a slave he was falsely accused of attempting to rape his master’s wife. Immediately he was confined in prison, although he was completely innocent. In prison he didn’t allow all the betrayal and injustice of his life to make him angry, bitter, or hopeless. In a remarkable act of selflessness, Joseph sought to comfort two other inmates who are unusually unhappy. And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?” (Gen. 40:6-7)
Joseph was unfortunately sentenced to prison and having to deal with all the personal emotional traumas that such an experience would bring. This is a lot to deal with no matter who you are. Yet Joseph was able to look past his own pain and disappointment in order to see the pain and suffering of others. He generously asked about these two men who were in obvious pain.
The internal motivation for the action of peacemakers is compassion for those who are suffering. The Bible describes that Jesus was moved with compassion (Matt. 9:36; 14: 14; 15:32; 20; 34). The love of God led Jesus to meet people’s needs and to solve their problems. It is the same love that directs our hearts in sincere, compassionate action to help others in need.
What Joseph did next is a tremendously good example to us. In spite of his own circumstances he was able to use his gift to solve the problems of others. And they said to him, “We each had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me please.” (Gen. 40:8) As Joseph then proceeded to accurately interpret their dreams, his kindness to them eventually led to his supernatural promotion to be prime minister to all of Egypt. He used his gift to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and thus gained his favor.
For us as Christians there is an important insight to gain from the life of Joseph. Those who had dreams but couldn’t understand them represent all those who don’t know the Lord. Without God’s Spirit and wisdom people can’t interpret His will for their lives. Everyone has dreams and a destiny that God created them with and for. Bur without God’s wisdom and understanding, we will never find the true meaning of our dreams. Christians are all called to lead others into the understanding of God’s plan and purpose for their life. Like Joseph, we too are to notice and care about those who are saddened by the inability to understand their inward dreams (destiny, purpose, meaning). Like Joseph, we too are then to engage the help of God for those who cannot help themselves.
Daniel was also a great example of a Godly problem solver in the Bible. Read what others said about him. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas[a] were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.” (Daniel 5:11-12)
Though both these men arc such clear and unquestionable problem solvers, we should not limit the practice of peacemaking only to their examples. When the Lord Jesus looked to care for a hungry multitude by feeding them, Hc needed assistance. His disciples found a young boy with his lunch. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:8-9) This little boy had offered his lunch to Jesus, but Andrew complained that it couldn’t possibly be enough to feed that great multitude. However, Jesus knew what God could do with even a little boy’s lunch. Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:19-21)
When we put our little into the hands of our great God, He can use it for much more than we ever imagined.
In the book of 2 Kings there is the story of the remarkable healing of a leprous man named Naaman. He was not a Jew but a Syrian (let that be an allegory of an unchurched man). His leprosy was slowly and painfully killing him. Although he was a national hero with unlimited personal resources, he had a problem his resources couldn’t solve. Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. (II Kings 5: 1)
He was an incredibly important man with great power and influence, yet the answer to his problem would be brought to him by an unexpected source. And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.” (2 Kings 5:2-4)
This Jewish slave girl, kidnapped from her family and made to be a slave in Naaman’s house, was the pivotal connection between the anguish and suffering of this man and his ultimate miraculous healing. The fact that she was willing to help those who were complicit in, though not directly responsible for, her kidnapping and slavery, tells us much of the quality of her character. In man’s eyes and judgment, she may have been the least important and influential person living in Naaman’s household. Yet because of her connection to and knowledge of God and what He was doing and who He was using, she led a man to his miracle.
All around us are the suffering masses of a dying world, but we can be like the slave girl, Joseph, Daniel, and the young boy. We can make a difference in people’s lives if we avail ourselves to God and care enough about people.
Problem Solver’s Prayer
Father God, I pray that You would use me to be a peacemaker —a problem solver –-in people’s lives. Give my heart compassion for those in need. Give my mind Your wisdom and answers. Direct my feet into the path of those whose difficulties and problems for which Your kingdom holds answers. Fill my hands with Your healing mercy and grace. In Jesus name, Amen.