Times were really tough for businesses in Guatemala in the 1980s due to civil unrest. I interviewed over a hundred owners and top managers for USAID to find out what might be the best way that businesses could be supported to keep the economy going and not lose jobs.
In interview after interview, I asked the managers or owners what the five worst problems were that the companies were facing and how might they best be helped. In every case, those interviewed would recite a list of really grave difficulties and complain about them in great detail.
My last interview was an exception. It still sticks out in my mind after so many years. When I asked for the list of problems, the owner responded: “Problems? What problems? I don’t have any problems; what I have are fabulous opportunities. My business is expanding rapidly, and my finances are really solid. I am planning to open a new factory in a couple of months.”
Then he continued talking. “Up until the end of last year I had horrendous problems. My sales were going down, my employees were not working, I could not collect my receivables and creditors were knocking at my door. I became increasingly depressed, and my health was going downhill fast. I could barely go to the office. Everyone was becoming demoralized. My business was facing bankruptcy.”
“One morning, however, I woke up and said to myself, ‘Joe, you don’t have any problems. The problems are in your head. What you have are wonderful opportunities. Take advantage of them and get rid of those bad thoughts.’ That day my bad fortunes reversed, and things have been going marvelously ever since.” Then he said, “I should mention that at the time this occurred, I had just accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”
How easy it is to burden ourselves with our problems and let ourselves get dragged down into total anxiety, depression and ineffectiveness. Our concentration on our concerns is greatly aided and abetted by everything and everyone around us. The news media expounds about problems 24 hours a day because that is what their audience wants to hear about. Politicians expound about problems because that is what gets the votes. Then there are the dangers of Covid 19, lack of security and economic difficulties. Our worries become a destructive, self-fulfilling prophecy.
As my interviewee indicated, it doesn’t have to be that way. I have found in my journey with Jesus that God does not take away difficulties, but they are no longer problems; they are challenges. When we are with God, the opportunity for growth and victory is always at the end of the tunnel. When we have faith in Jesus and accept him as our Savior, we will always have the best possible solution in an eternal scope because God loves us and has the power to provide what we need.
Do not let depressive thoughts, problems and anxieties burden your mind and destroy your effectiveness and health. Paul said it as well as anyone can. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)