Nicky Gumbel describes life as a set of challenges, problems and hassles.*  He says,

 “We sometimes imagine that if we could just deal with the immediate challenge that we are facing, all our problems would be over.  But life is not like that.  If we resolve one problem, another (or even several) is just around the corner.

“The temptation is to see these challenges as preventing us from carrying out the ministry God has given us.  In actual fact, dealing with the problems is the ministry.”

The image that comes to mind is a jack-in-the-box...  You push the little guy down into the box and securely close the lid.  Then someone "behind the scenes" hits a button. Surprise!  Up comes Jack.  The curious thing about the jack-in-the-box is that even though you know what will happen if you or someone else hits the button, there is still an element of surprise when Jack pops up.

Even though we know problems are part of life, there is something within us that is surprised when they show up….again and again and again.

I like these happy little images because, like the jack-in-the-box, challenges and problems are not “bad.” They can sharpen our skills, motivate us to reach higher, cause us to seek God’s help, give us satisfaction and relief when the challenge is met or the problem fixed. 

And you never know, there may be a bit of “heaven” inside that box just waiting for you to let it out!

Bible in One Year – How to Cope with the Challenges of Life (Day 187)