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Adversity

June 6th, 2014

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NKJV.

What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.

Today, my thoughts and comments are about “adversity.”

Adversity is inevitable and unavoidable. Adversity comes in varied forms and sizes – from mild annoyances to major problems. The source of adversity also varies – from complicating circumstances to complicated people. Adversity seems not to discriminate, intruding into the lives of one and all. The Bible is clear, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV. Assuming you can escape any and all adversity is unrealistic.

The worst thing that happened to you could become the best thing that happens for you. The final chapter is not written until you have experienced the grace and faithfulness of God and seen the providence and purpose of God in your situation. Your attitude is to be one of joyful anticipation and patience. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 NKJV.

In the Bible, just about everyone experienced adversity of one sort or another – Adam and his wife, Abel and his brother, Job and his accusing adversary, Abraham and his nephew, Esau and his brother, Jacob and his father-in-law, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and Pharaoh, David and King Saul, Paul and young John Mark, Jesus and Jewish leaders, and too many others to name. But you cannot consider adversity without including the long-suffering Job in any discussion.

One by one, everything important to Job was stripped away by one calamity after another, and then the well-meaning counsel of his friends assumed he was somehow to blame. Beleaguered by adversities, he struggled more with inexplicable questions than even the multiplying losses themselves. Job’s fundamental conviction of the sovereign goodness and faithfulness of God guided him through confusion to acceptance and understanding. Emotions in any present adversity must not cloud your abiding conviction of the character and authority of the eternal God in every adversity.  Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18/6:4-10 NIV.

The struggle of Job occupies 42 chapters; the resolution of Job’s adversity is told in brief, concluding verses, “The Lord made him prosperous and gave him twice as much as he had before . . the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first . . after this, Job lived a hundred and forty years, and he died, old and full of years.” Read Job 42:10-17 NIV. I have often heard it commonly said, “What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.” Job found that true; so will you. Psalm 46:1 NKJV.

God is not the origin of adversity to test you. He doesn’t need to be; there will be more than enough hardships in the normal course of life. But God wisely uses adversity to strengthen, perfect, and mature you. God didn’t put giants in Canaan to oppose Moses and Israel. Giants inhabited Canaan. The spies saw the abundance of the land of Promise. Read Numbers 13:17-33 NKJV. It was a rich land, overflowing with plenty – but there were fearsome giants that made them feel, “like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Their conclusion? “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” They feared the giants living there more than they trusted their God living in them. See Psalm 34:17-19 NKJV/1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV.

This day, I pray that you will remember the almightiness of God in every situation.

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