A Problem Without a Solution is a Fact


Sort out problems from facts. Stop wasting time trying to solve problems that don’t have solutions. If they’re facts, deal with them. Digest. Absorb. Move forward.

Like most of my best stuff, I got this from my friend John. But like most of his best stuff, he got it from another really smart guy, in this case, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Here’s the quote. . .

“If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact – not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.”

I’m stunned by the clarity. Sort out problems from facts. Stop wasting time trying to solve problems that don’t have solutions. If they’re facts, deal with them. Digest. Absorb. Move forward from a new place built on the facts, both old and new.

Sure, we sometimes jump to conclusions, assuming “facts” to be true that aren’t. But it may be more exhausting, frustrating, distracting and wasteful trying to solve the unsolvable. A few examples . . .

  • Jesus is the only way to eternal life with God – That’s a problem to a lot of people inside and outside the faith. We want to solve the problem, find the loophole, parse His words so our God won’t sound so narrow and exclusive. The solution? There is none. Jesus said it. He’s the only man to ever claim to be God, then die and come back to life. I’m with Him. No way to prove anything to the contrary, so maybe it’s a fact. That said, maybe we need to be more bold in sharing our faith with those who don’t know or don’t believe.
  • Something about your wife isn’t exactly like you want it to be. She’s too close to her mother. She’s always late. She’s less organized and messier than you. Instead of accepting these things as facts, you ruin your marriage trying to solve these “problems.” You criticize, manipulate and constantly try to change her.
  • There’s a problem down deep inside of you. Maybe it’s something that happened to you or something you did way back when. You keep trying to solve it by outrunning, outperforming, or outdrinking the self-image that resulted. Peace will come by coping with the fact that it happened, by forgiving the person who caused it, even if that person is you. We can forgive anyone for anything because our Savior forgave us for everything.
  • Something your father said you’ve never been able to put away. His words . . . “You can’t do anything right” or “You’ll never amount to anything” or “If you were as smart as your brother,” they echo in your soul. That some of our dads said mean, thoughtless, life-altering things to us growing up . . . that’s a fact. As Peres said, facts are “to cope with over time.” It may be a fact that your dad uttered painful words to you, but his words weren’t facts. You and I don’t have to live up to them or live them down.

Prayer: Holy Spirit . . . please help us see facts and give us the courage to cope with them. We need discernment so we don’t waste our precious days trying to solve problems that aren’t problems. Thank You for being our faithful Guide to the peace of Christ. Amen.

Question: Have you been trying to solve a problem that was unsolvable? Ask God to show you the fact you need to cope with and give you the courage to do it.

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