“Houston, We Have a Problem”
Most of us know what this phrase, “Houston, we have a problem,” means. On April 14, 1970, the Apollo Thirteen mission was in jeopardy. An exploded oxygen tank threatened the lives of the three astronauts on board. Their transmission that day has become famous. Mission control worked around the clock to solve the problems and miraculously got them home on April 17, 1970. This illustrates how we can solve problems when they arise.
In the chapters of the Bible following the stories of Creation, we have the stories of problems. This is sometimes called the stories of the Fall of Man, but I like to call them the problems because of what God intended. He intended us to solve problems, not create them. In failing to solve the first problem, Adam created greater problems. The first story tells how that happened.
Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, in perfect relationship and fellowship with God and with each other with four commandments from God to keep:
- Be fruitful and multiply.
- Subdue the earth and take dominion over it.
- Tend the Garden and keep it.
- Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
There was a special warning on the last commandment. God said that if they did eat they would really die. But the commandments of God are the blessings of God when we keep them. They were off to a good start.
Adam named all the animals, which was the first step in subduing the earth and establishing God’s authority over the animal kingdom. As Adam would hear the name God desired (God’s Will), he would speak that word and it was so.
It wasn’t long until a problem entered paradise. The serpent came in from the field and started talking to Eve. The occasion was an opportunity for Adam to learn how to solve problems. Instead, he did nothing and was silent as Eve carried on this conversation with the devil as he spoke through the serpent.
The devil asked Eve a question: “Did God really say you (all) cannot eat from any of the trees of the Garden?” When you think about that question, it is actually very ridiculous. The trees were their only source of food. They were all good to look at and good for food, all except one; the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Eve answered the serpent by saying, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the Garden, but God said we may not eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden, neither shall we touch it, lest we die.” The serpent said, “You (all) will not really die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil.”
The Bible says that Eve saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. She took of its fruit and ate and gave it to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. The most serious of all problems was created. Sin entered the world that day and was passed on to all their offspring from Adam.
Where was God when this horrible thing was happening? Many people as have asked this question when the horrible thing in their lives began to unfold. “Why did God allow this to happen?”
God allowed the serpent to come in from the field and allowed Satan to speak through the serpent to Eve, and it was still paradise. They still had their perfect relationship and fellowship with God. And God had a different outcome for this problem. This was an occasion for Adam and Eve to grow in their knowledge of good and evil. A problem had arisen that God had a solution for. There was a different choice to be made than the one that was made.
The very first thing Adam and Eve could have done was to cry out to God for a solution to the problem of the serpent being in the Garden asking questions, just like the astronauts did when their problem presented itself. They immediately called Mission Control for the solution.
In the Garden, Adam and Eve should have immediately recognized that something was not right. The animals were to answer Adam. He was God’s representative and authority on earth and in the family. He was the one who would ask the questions with the animals submissive and accountable to him, not the other way around.
They could have cried out, “Lord, what is happening here? Why is this serpent in the Garden and why is he asking these silly questions? Give us wisdom what to do. Help us, O God. We do not know what this means or what to do, but we trust You and need You for everything, especially now with this strange thing that is happening. We know what Your Word says, and we know that what this serpent is saying is not good because it goes against what You have said. Help us Lord!”
The story would have had a different outcome. Instead of the problem being solved, the problem multiplied and continues to be multiplied today.
Lessons from The Problem
- Problems can lead to two different outcomes; either being solved by God’s Word which leads to spiritual growth and understanding, or being multiplied because we try to address them on our own and end up with sin and death; which multiplies.
- Crying out to God when things are not right is the proper response to problems. Going to God in prayer and to His Word for clarity and understanding is the only way temptations (problems) can be answered.
- Keeping God’s Commandments will give you the blessing of wisdom for problem solving. Trying to solve problems on your own will lead to creating more problems. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing, except to sin and create more problems. In Christ, and His Word in you, you can address everything that presents itself regardless of what it may be, with God’s solution, which brings Him glory.