Many people think what a parent names their child is very important for the child’s future success. The true story of the Lane brothers may prove something different.

Back in 1958, Robert Lane named his son Winner. How could he fail with a name like Winner Lane?

The Lanes had another son several years later. In the “worst parental decision” category, Robert named this baby Loser. How tragic to subject this boy to a life of losing with this name.

Unexpectedly, Loser Lane became a great success! He graduated from college and became a sergeant with the New York Police Department. Now, no one calls him Loser. His friends just call him Lou.

And what about the brother with the “can’t miss” name? The most noteworthy achievement of Winner is the length of his criminal rap sheet—nearly three dozen arrests for burglary, domestic violence, trespassing, resisting arrest, and other mayhem.

Losses are a part of life.

Problems happen!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2

When troubles happen, not IF!

When I was in college, I went to Wendy’s instead of taking a math placement test, just to avoid registering for a difficult math course. You can opt out of classes in college, but you can’t opt out of problems in real life. They’re a required course.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

We all miss God’s high standard of perfection. That’s why we need Jesus. He’s the only perfect life ever lived. And when we face life without Jesus, we choose to face our problems on our own.

When I act like a “helicopter” parent, it’s easy for me to step in and try to do the hard work for my kids which keeps them from facing any problems. But when I do, I also keep them from learning, maturing and growing.

The pencil eraser business reminds us that everyone makes misteaks! I mean, mistakes!

Why Do Problems Happen?

When things go wrong in the world or in our lives, we try to find who is at fault. We ask, “Is this my fault, is this someone else’s fault, is it God’s fault, is it the devil’s fault?” We try to fix the blame instead of fixing the problem.

Jesus answered, “It is not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him be blind. This man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him. John 9:3

The issue isn’t how he became blind. It’s: how will God be glorified through this problem? We must ask: How can God’s people respond to serve and to make a difference.

Problems are Planetary.

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:20-21

God is the solution. God is going to fix everything!

Problems have a Purpose. (The Soul-Building Model)

Suffering can accomplish something.

4 Purposes of Problems

1) Problems Purify my faith.

For you know that when your faith is tested… James 1:3a

2)  Problems Power my patience.

…your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:3b

3)  Problems Promote my character.

So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:4

God’s goal for your life is to make you more like Jesus Christ.

God is much more interested in building your character than in making you comfortable.

4) Problems Prompt my Prayers.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5

A problem should never get you down, except down on your knees to pray.

Turn your problems into your prayer list.

How Do I Defeat my Difficulties?

Plan for Problems. (The Principle of Preparation)

“Don’t go charging into battle without a plan.” Proverbs 20:18 (GNT)

Expect the best, but plan for the worst.

Murphy’s Law: if anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible time.

Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later. Proverbs 22:3 (GNT)

Ask: “What can go wrong? And “What will happen if it does?”

Admit my problems.

People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger. Proverbs 10:17 (GNT)

Wise children pay attention when their parents correct them, but arrogant people never admit they are wrong. Proverbs 13:1 (GNT)

Learn from my problems.

A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. Proverbs 28:13 (TLB)

Bonus: Learn from OPP too: Other People’s Problems.

Don’t Give Up.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

When you’re going through Hell, Don’t Stop!

Focus on what really matters: Expanding God’s kingdom by living a life of trust in Jesus, no matter what, and complete what God has called you to do.