Hard Problems to Solve. No Easy Solutions.

People! Help

There are hard problems to solve, for which there are no easy solutions. 

It doesn't mean there aren't solutions, but they probably won't be acceptable to everyone involved. Often, it's people who make getting to the best solution really, really difficult. 

I don't know a leader, certainly none that I have coached, who haven't from time to time had challenging, if not downright problem people, create barriers to charting the best way forward.

I quote Eddie Askew here, who wrote about oversimplifying solutions. I think his reflection is insightful and helpful for Christian leaders.

There are problems that are hard to solve. Some have no solutions. Stress is high, decision making is tough, and acceptance may be the only solution for some situations. How we handle that acceptance is the key to real solutions.

Some Problems Don't Have Nice Easy Solutions

Hard problems to solve

Eddie and his wife made experiences while providing leadership and working with the Leprosy Mission in India for 15 years that allowed them to speak to this issue.

This excerpt and prayer is taken from Eddie Askew's book, Disguises of Love, c.1983, The Leprosy Mission International.

"In an earlier letter I wrote about oversimplifying problems. Now I write about the danger of oversimplifying solutions.

When we are looking at alternative answers to a problem, it's natural to assume that one answer is “right”, and the other “wrong”. OK, that does happen, and successful people are those who make substantially more right decisions of this sort than wrong ones...

Unfortunately, many problems don't have nice solutions like that. Most difficulties involve people and, when people are involved, often there is no solution which is “right” for everyone. Whatever the choice made, someone won't like it, and someone may be hurt.

We must be sensitive to people's needs but if we spend our lives trying to please everyone we may as well jump off a cliff – it gets rid of the stress more quickly!

Leaders for Difficult Choices

Often, we have to choose between two incomplete solutions. And these choices are difficult to make. That's one reason why organizations have leaders.

If answers were easy, we wouldn't need leaders to take responsibility and make decisions. It's not that leaders are morally or intellectually superior to the rest, they usually aren't, it's just that someone has to make decisions and they are there to do it!

We must go farther and face the fact that many problems can't be solved, even partially. They just have to be lived. There is either no solution at all, or the situation is one we are powerless to change. This is a hard lesson to learn ...

Sometimes faith and prayer are needed to give strength to endure a problem and fit it into the total pattern of our lives.

A Prayer for the Hard Problems to Solve

It was no easier for Jesus, was it Lord?

And the problems he faced were not of his making.
Not like my little problems.
The molehills that seem like mountains.
His problems took him to the cross.
To pain, to death.
No. Not to pain, to death.
Not to, but through.
Because one thing I know
is that he came out on the other side.

Lord, I pray for all who find life hard today.
Help them to hang on to that.

Help them cling to it when faith is low.
When they're down.
When life is hard to understand,
and even harder to live.
And help me realize
that I don't need to understand."

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