The New Oxford American Dictionary defines adversity as ‘difficulties and misfortunes.’ As we are growing up, there are no classes in school or church on how to handle adversity.
The general consensus is if you are faithful to God, you will be abundantly blessed. But the exact opposite can happen. John 16:33 explains that in this world we shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer – Jesus overcame. But, he had to go through the death of the cross before he could experience the power of the resurrection.
Because of sin that started in the Garden of Eden, the believer and non-believer can suffer adversity. If you allow yourself to start judging your life by what other believers or people in ministry have or do, you are in big trouble spiritually and emotionally. Some leaders refuse to admit they experience any adversity in life. They put on an ‘out ward face’ of eternal blessings with no problems. This just isn’t true. God said it rains on the just and the unjust.
I know people who go through life seemingly untouched by problems. I don’t have the answers as to why some people, even evil people, can have abundant material blessings while others suffer for years and yet they are faithful to God. Storms come to the people who build on the rock and to those who build on the sand. If we have built on the Rock Christ Jesus, we will be able to withstand any storm. Yes, we may weep and experience grief, but God will give His strength for each new day of life.
What do we do when we experience ongoing grief, adversity or unanswered prayer? Do we allow the devil to come in with his lies? He will challenge us through our thoughts. Anything negative that comes to our mind is not from God. Philippians 4:8 states, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
I know people who go through life seemingly untouched by problems. I don’t have the answers as to why some people, even evil people, can have abundant material blessings while others suffer for years and yet they are faithful to God.
I challenge myself and everyone I counsel with this question, “What is God’s truth?” When I’m in grief or adversity, what am I going to do about it? First, be gut honest with God in prayer. David was gut honest in the Psalms. God’s love is unconditional. It’s not based on our situation, our emotions or our performance. God remembers that we are made from dust. We are still in the flesh and must allow the Holy Ghost in us to control our thoughts, feelings and actions. It takes discipline and self-control by God’s Spirit.
Spending time in prayer with God daily is a must. I call it a God-conscious state of mind and heart. The Word of God is our source of wisdom and strength to build our faith. We need to offer the sacrifice of praise unto the Lord. A commentary on Isaiah 61 says when we praise God it repels and replaces the heavy spirit. If we have salvation and are alive, we need to offer God sincere heartfelt thanksgiving everyday.
God instructs us to pray always. Present your needs to God with thanksgiving in His name! Philippians 4:6 NLT says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” I’m not telling you that I have arrived to a ‘never worry’ stage, but I’m working on it. God knows our beginning and end. He knows are present circumstances and our needs for tomorrow. He has given all of us a ‘measure of faith’ to use one day at a time.
Why am I sensitive to those who are hurting? I’m sensitive, because we have experienced great ongoing adversity without answers. God has sustained us and I still do the ministry of teaching, counseling and writing to help others grow and heal spiritually, emotionally and relationally. I refuse to allow the devil to rob me of my faith, hope and trust in God. When we do all we know to do, then we just STAND!
Love this chorus of praise: “I will praise Him. I will praise Him. Praise the Lamb for sinners slain. Give Him glory all ye people for His blood hath washed away each stain.” Even in adversity, we have a major reason to Praise the Lord!
© Carol Clemans – July 2012