Rather than saying “God, here is my problem,” we should put the problem into perspective by saying, “Problem, here is my God!
We’ve all had to face adversity in our lives. It’s a time of hardship, affliction, recession, depression and otherwise unfortunate circumstances. If you are like me, you probably thought adversity would be a breeze after you sold out to Jesus.
Wow, was I ever wrong! In the beginning of my Christian walk, it seemed the more I obeyed God the more adversity came my way. I quickly discovered that I didn’t like adversity. I still don’t. I like peace. Like a severe storm, you can almost sense adversity coming…the calm before the storm. When the storm of adversity comes, it demands your total attention.
Adversity visits us all from time to time – and in many different ways. It can come disguised as marriage trouble, sickness, financial calamity, hardship from personal attacks, or even difficulty in the workplace and many other ways. Adversity is no respecter of persons. All of us will face it. The question is how will we respond to it.
There is a scripture in the Word of God that reveals, “If we give up in the day of adversity our strength will be small” (Proverbs 24:10). In this context, giving means to withdraw, let go, or to show yourself slack. Instead of pressing through of what is a time of growth, we shrink back because we prefer to not go through the opposition. This will stunt our growth, I personally prefer growth.
When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape…shrink back and say it’s not worth it. The Lord is very specific in this verse, though. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.
Let me tell you stepping into the call of God on your life, does in fact come with adversity. As I have began to fulfill the call of God on my life it seems there are plenty of times to shrink back, or grow through adversity. Folks think that being a leader is something so great and is so breezy easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth, to get to where God is taking you, there is always opposition you have to overcome. I have purposed in my heart, I will not give up, I will not give in. I will keep pressing forwarding, keep growing in Him, and love people. All the while knowing that in adversity I grow deep roots of strength.
Over the past few weeks I have seen several go through adversity and opposition. Cancer diagnosis, offense of a church member, illness, financial attack, a driving accident and so on. Some have grabbed ahold to the word of God and not given an inch. Others have taken to offense and left the place God put them to grow. The attack on finances has caused folks to stop giving instead of standing on faith continuing to give; knowing that God will not let them fall but is faithful. One friend had an accident and proclaimed the good news that God protected her, giving Him all the glory. One group shrank back another group grew deeper roots.
I have personally been walking through a mess. Both of my daughters had strep then I had it. Which turned into bronchitis and now into pneumonia. You name the symptom I have had it, and it’s not been pretty. As I thought about this adversity and my attitude through it, God has began to show me where I need growth & where I have grown. One area of growth, I have received help and have reached out, not trying to do this alone. The pride I had isn’t there in the area of thinking I have to “do it all”, and not receiving help. Did you know that people really do want to help? Letting yourself say, “I need help, now,” is huge. That’s a place of letting God work in your life and a step of surrendering.
Another area I have noticed is the desire to just watch as much bible teaching as I can. I watch and re watch my favorite teachers. The enemy didn’t win in shutting my spirit man down. I felt myself just get so sad the other day and lonely, Josh has been gone so much I almost wanted to throw a pity party for myself. Instead, I asked my friend Rachel to come and set with me (for goodness sake she only lives 5 minutes from me) and just talk for a few hours, that is HUGE for me. My spirit man grew a little bit bigger this week.
Now the areas I have seen I need to surrender to the Lord. I have really struggled with how others perceive me. I am a pastor’s wife and I haven’t been to a service in 2 Sunday’s. My girls were sick then I became even more sick. What will others think, and will they be upset with me? Seriously God is the only one I need to seek approval of, and now I see how I really need to give that to the Lord. I felt the same about my trainer, is he going to be upset with me because I can’t go to the gym? Not that I could do one workout without throwing up all over the place. Lastly joy, oh my how we let joy be stolen in the midst of adversity. I have had moments of just not wanting to talk, to upset, then crying and snappy. Let me tell you, I still tried to be joyful. However, how I felt would take over from time to time. This is an area the enemy will attack the most, trying to get us to be led by our feelings. By faith we have to surrender our feelings to the Lord and speak we are full of joy until we see the evidence of it in our life. This is possible and there is so much power in doing so.
When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape.. Shrink back and say it’s not worth it. The Lord is very specific in the verse Proverbs 24:10. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.
When adversity attacks, run to Jesus: When adversity attacks, the first thing you should do is run to Jesus. Don’t flake out, shut down, break rank or isolate yourself from those who can help you. Run to Jesus. Remember that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus will not let you down. You can trust Him to get you through this turbulence. After you run to Jesus, check your heart. Go down your personal checklist and check yourself. If you have sinned, repent. If you violated the Word in any way, repent. Running to Jesus coupled with repentance should always be our first reaction to adversity.
One thing to help you overcome adversity – get back to church. God’s Word is very specific: don’t forsake the assembling of yourself together with other believers (Hebrews 4:9). Listen, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Isolation is not healthy. Find a good Bible-believing church where the power of changed lives is visible. Plug in and help that church fulfill its vision.
Adversity attacks everybody, but with your love for Jesus you can overcome it every time. Remember this, God causes all things to work together for good to those that love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s you! With Christ in your life you can make it through every sorrow, oppression, trouble and adversity.
Psalms 91:1,2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”