Futurist and author, Bob Johansen, in his book, Leaders Make the Future, states that we’re heading into an era of increased dilemmas, uncertainties, and hopelessness and that successful future leaders will need to be dilemma flippers. But first, we have to determine what is a problem and what is a dilemma because each must be approached differently. 

Problems are solvable and dilemmas are not. 

A dilemma is a problem that cannot be solved and without divine intervention, will not go away. World hunger, disease, poverty, weather catastrophes, and death are all dilemmas. We can work to end them, but these are big issues that won’t go away.  The good news is that using wisdom, dilemmas can be flipped. Leaders must look for the opportunities within dilemmas and figure out how to flip them. Flipping dilemmas is our ongoing and greatest challenge as Christians. 

How do you “flip” a dilemma that can’t be solved?  The story of Joseph in the Bible shows how God can help us become dilemmas flippers. Joseph had been given a death sentence, sold into slavery, then thrown into another prison, after being wrongly accused of rape. His life seemed like an endless stream of dilemmas, but eventually, God flipped them and placed him in a seat of influence and power. Joseph kept his mind and heart true to God and when his brothers came to him dying of starvation and asking for help he said to them “you determined to kill me, but God used what you did to save thousands.” Joseph had experienced God’s flipping power for his unsolvable problems because he didn’t let go or give up.  

To be a dilemma flipper you have to stand in the tension and mess in a ready position which requires an open mind and heart. It’s direction that comes from a life secured by God who is our higher power. Jesus told us that we’d have troubles, but that He had overcome the world so that we might be overcomers and live in peace. John 16:33. 

You may not be in any kind of unsolvable dilemma right now. Perhaps your just facing a problem which can be fixed. Determine the difference first because each will need to be approached differently. Remember if it’s a problem, it can be solved so it becomes about finding the best solution. 

I start with prayer and the Word of God because I believe the Bible has within its pages the answers to all of life’s problems. The existence and accessibility we have to the Bible is itself a miracle that many today have forgotten. I also know that it’s up to me to be prepared and knowledgeable in the work I’m involved in. Both professional skills and Bible muscles have to stay in shape so that effective leadership can be used to solve today’s complex problems. 

If it’s a dilemma, look for an advantage that you might find that can bring hope. As leaders, we have an obligation to act. Leaders make decisions but making the right decision may have many options. It requires active listening, creative reinvention, flexibility, and an open mind. To be a successful leader requires the ability to sense what the Bible refers to as spiritual warfare, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

 Are you going through financial bankruptcy? If it’s beyond your control, then trust God to flip it. Seek His mercy and look for ways He can bring new lessons and fresh insight into what seems like ruin. 

Are you going through health issues? Trust God to flip it and the fear it brings. How might God use your illness to bring hope to those who are suffering in the same situation? Trust Him that He has an ultimate plan in mind for you. 

Are you going to a funeral or maybe know someone who’s going through a divorce? God can flip what our culture sees as death. God is our Redeemer and Peacemaker. Become a purveyor of His hope. 

There will always be problems to be solved, but leaders are needed who are grounded in God’s Word and know how to call on Him for answers that can’t be humanly solved. 

How can you and God begin flipping the dilemma you’re facing right now?