Dr. John W. Telman
The title of this book may be curious and may cause one to question the legitimacy of its content. Life is difficult. The worst way to approach someone who is hurting would be to give them an flippant answer. Life is difficult. My mentor, Dr. George W. Westlake Jr often preached that he wished God would have given us “the Bible and a book of easy answers”. So why would anyone write a book with the title, “The Book Of Easy Answers”? In addition, does it seem presumptive to believe that easy answers actually exist?
Sometimes, there seems to be no answers at all. I recall going to a children’s hospital the day after a terrible Christmas fire that took the life of a mother and three children. I met a grieving family who were inconsolable. I was taken into a room to see the charred and bloated bodies of the deceased children. How was I, as the family pastor, to answer the question, why? The fact is that even though questions were being voiced in the midst of tears and groans, the family was not looking for answers. At that moment they needed a pastor who would weep with them and be with them when they could not possibly understand. Later, much later, answers would be sought but would they be easy answers?
Pain is real and the answers often seem allusive never mind easy.
The focus that we will be speaking of is our response as opposed to seeking obvious reasons for the trouble. Sometimes we are actually wanting relief and not necessarily answers at all.
There are easy answers. They are not frivolous or trite. Neither are they proposed as an excuse for ignorance. Answers are easy to life’s questions because of who God is. That does not minimize the difficulties faced. Rather, it gives us a healthy perspective when we face trouble. The easy answers can be immediate but often we need time to grieve and ache first but in those times, we must also understand that we are not alone and that “troubles don’t last always”.
Answers are not initially what we need when pain hits us but there are answers when we are ready to look for them and to receive them. The pursuit of easy answers is wise because they come from God. Since God is able to handle all that concerns us, his approach is best. All other potential ways to handle our pain have weaknesses but God’s answers are complete. They are perfect. They are strong.
The Psalmist wrote, “I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2). It may not feel like help comes from God. The truth is that I have spoken to many people who actually blame God for the trouble and pain they experience. They would not even consider God to be there help.
It is the premise of this book that easy answers are available if we would only consider who God is. The problem is that we may not desire the answers related to the person of God. Man’s heart is in need of help. The good news is that help is available. My contention is that the help that we need is not only available but is deeply rooted in who God is. The easy answers presented will turn our attention to who God is. They are more than interesting bits of information. It is our hope that each chapter will drive the reader to not only know about God but to trust him in a close personal relationship.
The stories of real people will are shared including Tony Dungy, Corrie Ten Boom, Steven Curtis Chapman, Joni Earekson, David Livingstone and many others who have experienced dreadful trouble and have also experienced the help of God.
To live as if there are no problems is foolish. To avoid problems is difficult and sometimes creates problems of its own. The challenge is to turn one’s attention from the trouble to God who is our only hope.
My brother-in-law, Evangelist and Missionary Mark Wicks once reminded me that to fixate on problems is much like focusing on the lights of oncoming traffic at night. A driver would be blinded and would likely drive into the light much like bugs are attracted to light. To extend the analogy further would be to encourage us to keep our focus on God and not the problem. Sadly, most feel unable to look away from the trouble and the continued trouble seems to rule their lives.
The writer to the Hebrews wrote, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Of course, the inner eyes are implied and not the physical eyes. It is the inner focus that must be on God who is the only hope for everyone and in all situations.
The Psalmist David knew trouble. He had to run for his life on many occasions. He dealt with the pain of losing a child and the heart wrenching struggles with family. He experienced dangers, anguish, hurt and yet he wrote, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (Psalm 23:1-4). David did not deny the existence of valley’s but knew that God is not just the giver of easy answers. He is the easy answer to every trouble.
I am well aware that some will not pick this book up because of the title. Not all problems are mentioned but know that the problem is not the focus. God Almighty is the focus. The more we understand who God is, the more we rest in who he is and the more we depend on his goodness, we will experience his help. Trouble may flee only to return in another form or trouble may just continue without seemingly no end. Should there be no immediate change in your life, know that you are safe and cared for even in the midst of a terrible storm.
Here me now. Trouble is not your answer to trouble! Anger is not the answer! Fear is not the answer. Unforgiveness is not the answer. In fact, anger, fear and unforgiveness are blocks to easy answers. They will create more troubles than they will solve.
God, through Jesus Christ, is your answer. He is the easy answer. As you read about him in these pages and as you sense the one who loves you is near, I urge you to call upon his goodness and love. When you truly do, you will find easy answers. They may not be what you expect or necessarily wanted but they will be answers that will be the very best. God makes the answers easy because nothing is to difficult for him. If you’re sick, he’s the healer that is not limited by any disease or health issue. If you’re in financial need, God is your supplier because he is infinitely able to bring all the resources of heaven to help you. No matter what the problem is that needs an answer, God is not only your answer, he is your best solution. He is the only true solution.
When we experience pain, and trouble, we might say, “how could this happen?” There is a book in the Bible that actually was titled “how” in the Hebrew language. It is Lamentations, the 25th book of the Bible. In the Book of Lamentations, we read that the temple and Jerusalem were utterly destroyed by the Babylonians. Prophet Jeremiah understood that the Babylonians were God’s tool for bringing judgment on Jerusalem (2600 years ago). Lamentations makes it clear that sin and rebellion were the causes of God’s wrath being poured out (1:8-9; 4:13; 5:16). Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet” for his deep and abiding passion for his people and the city of Jerusalem (Lamentations 3:48-49). This same sorrow over the sins of the people and their rejection of God was expressed by Jesus. As was said earlier, some of our trouble is not of our doing but a great majority of the pain in our lives is a result of sin on our part but God has not given up on you and I. He offers us life that is beyond trouble.
As you read this book, see the greatness of God and begin to engage your faith in who he is and then watch as he simply answers with more love than you can imagine. You can begin to expect easy
answers even as you read this book since God really does have an answer for you. Instead of becoming a close friend to pain and trouble, turn to the one who is infinitely able to bring easy answers. God is greater than anything that you are facing.
Answers may not be experienced easily not because they don’t exist but for two important reasons. First, God may call us to the higher place of faith which will not seem easy to our emotions. This book will stretch the reader to place complete trust in God. Secondly, the answers could be staring us in the face, but we can’t seem them. Trouble often has the ability to blind us from the easy answers God has provided.
Kerry Pocha and I pray that as you read this book, you will gain courage to reach out to the creator with faith. At that special moment, we are confident that you will receive an answer and it might well be easy.
As you will notice, Kerry and I have written individually but the theme of building faith in the one who has the answers threads its way through each chapter. Please consider the closing message to reach out to us with your prayer request. Together we want to serve you by praying and believing for your easy answer.
a close friend to pain and trouble, turn to the one who is infinitely able to bring easy answers. God is greater than anything that you are facing.