By Diane Barr
Adversity – Struggles, persecution, trouble, suffering, tragedy, catastrophe, hard times,
problems, storms your life, bad things happen
Adversity can be our greatest motivation for spiritual growth or our deadliest means of discouragement. The difference depends on our understanding of God’s purposes through adversity. It is important to remember the overall purpose of our lives. Revelation 4:11 says, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Reasons for Adversity:
- Sin in This World – Man’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden brought sin into the world. Because of sin, bad things happen to both bad and good people. John 16:33.
- Sin in Our Lives – God chastens His children to cause them to remember to do right. Hebrews 12:5-11. A person who is facing adversity should examine his life to see if there is some sin God is punishing. Psalm 139:23-24. Bible example is Jonah.
- To Grow Our Faith – Testing and trials help us to grow from “I’ve heard that God will help in hard times” to “I know from experience that God’s promise of help in hard times is true.” Romans 5:3-5.
- To Make Us More Like Christ – The goal of every Christian, and God’s plan for every Christian is that we should be changed to become like Jesus. Everything God allows in our lives works to help us reach that goal. Romans 8:28,29. Show Jesus to others. Example: Monique Lindsey.
- To Comfort Us So We Can Comfort Others in Their Adversity – We often learn through the hard times God brings into our lives. Those lessons are for us personally but God also uses us to share those lessons with others, to comfort them. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Example: Joni Earickson Tada.
- To Make Us Aware of Our Weaknesses – Often we think we are strong, and we try to live our lives without God’s help. Our hard times help us to remember that we need God, and He gives us the grace we need to go through each trouble with victory! 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Bible Example: Paul
- To Give Glory (Praise) to God – God chooses some people to struggle so that some great work might be done that will bring glory to Him. Bible example: Man blind from birth. John 9:2-3; 11:45. Example: Betty Rice Cabbage and the Bill Rice Ranch.
How to Have Victory in Adversity:
- Trust God’s Word and His Love. God knows the things that are lacking in your life. He will work through all situations in your life for your learning, so you can represent Jesus. Psalm 119:71; James 1:2-4. And His love that is without any limit is there to help even when you don’t see His love. When you cannot see Him working, trust His love for you.
- Pray – There may have been times you felt like you could do nothing other than pray. That is OK, because God tells us often to pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 3:20. He wants to hear your prayer, and He is willing and able to help.
- Praise Him – Praise reminds us that God is in control. It change our focus from “me” to “Him.” Start thinking about who He is and how He is working in the adversity. Praise gives hope. Bible example: Paul and Silas, Acts 16:25.
- Remember – Review God’s faithfulness in the past. As He was in the past, He will still be in your trial today. Psalms 103:2-5. Dr Paul Chappell said that the greater the problems are in front of us, the more we need to look back on what God has already done for us.
- Determine to Endure – Don’t Give Up!!! Continue to hope – Psalms 30:5. Focus on God’s promises for the future. This world with its trials is not your home. Determine to finish well – Acts 20:24. Read the life stories of those who have gone through trials with God’s help, and been victorious. Example: Adoniram and Ann Judson.
- Christian Fellowship – Continue in church, in Bible reading, in prayer; get wisdom from other mature Christians who have experienced trials and had victory. Hebrews 11:25.
God could have kept Daniel out of the lions’ den. He could have kept Paul and Silas out of jail. He could have kept the three Hebrew children out of the fiery furnace. But God never promised to keep us out of hard places. He HAS promised to go with us through every hard place, and to bring us through victoriously.
Lessons we can learn from adversity include patience, humility, grace, obedience, courage, trusting God’s goodness, depending on the Lord, compassion for others, thankfulness, love, sensitivity, knowledge of His presence, and more.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6)