"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." (Homer)
Adversity is not unique to any particular culture or specific era. Commentator Paul Harvey puts it this way: "In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these." Adversity can be the beginning of wonderful change. Without warning, adversity strikes. Hours before, your world was a like a peaceful beautiful snow covered mountain of tranquility; now it resembles an avalanche. Emotional unrest is sweeping through your mind, and a hurricane-force is tearing at the protective barriers of your heart. Your goal is to keep on top of it instead of being buried beneath it. Had you known of its coming, you would have braced yourself for the siege; but adversity rarely announces its arrival. Instead, it attacks with fury through trials, such as financial problems, sickness, relationships or an emotional setback.
The question becomes not when will adversity strike, but how do we handle its gripping reality? There are two sides to adversity. One side is positive and stimulates spiritual and emotional growth; the other carries the potential to defeat and destroy us. Adversity can increase our trust level in God by keeping us focused on His ability. When we turn to Him in overwhelming situations, He promises not only to become our strength, but the basis for our peace.
"Adversity has a positive side." That isn’t a statement you are likely to hear very often. Your first response may be, "Oh, really? You don’t know what I’m going through!" When you’re in the middle of a trial it is impossible to really appreciate or understand what is going on. To see the positive side of adversity is not wishful thinking, denial of reality, or foolish optimism. Rather, it is a statement of faith.
Our first question is: How do I develop the kind of faith that can see the positive side of trials and adversity?
The positive side of adversity is rooted in two strong beliefs:
First, God has a plan and a purpose for the life of every person, including you. If you desire God’s plan and purpose to be accomplished in your life, God will go to whatever lengths are necessary to see His plan and purpose fulfilled in your life. He will not go against your will, but if your will is to desire His will, then He will move heaven and earth to see that His will is done in and through you. Believing this means, of course, that God can use any adversity that comes your way for His plan, to further your purposes on the earth or to work His purposes within your life. In other words, the way you react to adversity determines the results of that adversity.
Second, God can turn things to good for you regardless of the situation you are facing today. You may think your life has derailed and crashed beyond any repair. But the The Bible says, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).
God has a way of arranging things so that good comes from bad. That’s His very nature as Redeemerto take what attempts to enslave us and to use it to free us. Not only that, but when God redeems a situation, He also sends a message to other people who observe what God is doing in our lives. That message may bring about many different reactionsfrom conviction to repentance to praise. What God does for good in our lives is never limited to us; it is always for others, too. Do we allow adversity to throw us back, defeat us, or pull us down? Or do we see adversity as something that can make us stronger, better, and more whole? Do we regard adversity as a destroyer? Or do we see it as having within it the seeds that can produce something beneficial and helpful? Do we expect the results caused by adversity to be negative or situation bound? Or do we expect the end result of adversity to be part of God’s miracle-working, for-our-good plan? God has a plan and a purpose for your life and can use whatever comes against your life for your good. How do you perceive adversity?
Can you see how God has caused something good to come from an adversity you have experienced? Which has the greater power to determine your futurethe situations in which you find yourself (including adversity) or the God that created the universe?
.Music Performed By Nick Jones
© Used with permission
Keeping up with the Jones