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Facing Adversity

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV

It is in adversity where God reveals His love, proves Himself faithful, and where internal change occurs.

God allows adversity to occur in order to draw us closer to Him. Anyone who does not go through trying times most likely does not know God. For many times, God proves His faithfulness by putting us through the fire. As gold is refined by fire, so the soul is refined by God. It is in adversity where God reveals His love, proves Himself faithful, and where internal change occurs.


We can all look back on our past and realize that we have not loved God the way we should. We have not prayed like we should. When times have been well and easy going, we have not sought God like we should. We have not loved Him through the successful times and we have been guilty of doubting and questioning Him through the difficult times. Due to this, we lack preparation for further difficulties that are bound to come.


In order for us to become more prepared for what lies ahead, God must allow adversity to occur. In order for us to deepen our relationship with Him, God must bring us to a point where all resources are extracted. Where there is no option for us but to trust God. For God loves when a child of His is brought to such a point where there is no amount of effort in the flesh, no amount of resources, no connections or people that can help but Him. It is only when we trust and have faith in Him that we will truly give Him the praise and glory when He gets us through our adversity.

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10

When this occurs, our faith will be strengthened and God’s Word and promises will not be mere head knowledge. Rather, we will be a living testimony of His faithfulness. Our hearts will be transformed and we will grow in the knowledge that God loves us, cares for us, has a plan for us, and will guide us. The question is simply, “Do we believe and trust Him to do as He said He would?”

When tough times come, we tend to complain, argue, become anxious, discouraged, doubt, and fall into a dismal spiral. Our strength is proven to be small because we are placing more power in circumstance and ourselves than simply trusting in God with child-like faith.

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10 ESV). When tough times come, we tend to complain, argue, become anxious, discouraged, doubt, and fall into a dismal spiral. Our strength is proven to be small because we are placing more power in circumstance and ourselves than simply trusting in God with child-like faith. This is when those who may know God, faint. They don’t believe they will be delivered. They see no options left. Rather than going to God first, they go to Him last. It is not out of a spirit of excitement and trust that they go to God, however. Instead, it is done with a head hung low, shoulders down, and a mopping sigh of “well, God, I guess there’s no other choice. I trust in You.”

If we truly understood Who God is, we would go to Him first. We would not lack faith. We would be glad and rejoice in the season which He has allowed because He is getting at something in us, while simultaneously changing the situation around us.

This disposition of coming to God with weak faith does anything but honor God. Yes, God may still come through to reveal His love and power. However, sometimes the process gets prolonged. Sometimes we miss out on what God wanted to do because of our attitude. When we are bitter and see God as a last resort, we indirectly worship a little “g” god. Not that God is not the real God, but if we truly understood Who God is, we would go to Him first. We would not lack faith. We would be glad and rejoice in the season which He has allowed because He is getting at something in us, while simultaneously changing the situation around us.


If we are honest, most of us enjoy a life of ease and comfort. We don’t like to be challenged or changed. Many of us will do the same thing, day in and day out for 40-50+ years. This is not to say that this is wrong, but the desire and wanting to grow in God and become a greater blessing to others evaporates. We slowly get lulled into a state of idleness and commonality. Rarely, if ever does anything in our lives change. We begin to grow cold to the things of God, not wanting to share Him to the world or live out our faith.


Slowly but surely, spiritual strength becomes dwindled. We become comforted by the hidden idolatry of routine. The Holy Spirit gets suppressed because we are not seeking after God. His voice becomes a long distance memory. We have grieved Him to the point where we no longer allow Him to speak. We no longer allow Him to do far more than we can ask or think. Instead, we place our boats in the harbor and we nonchalantly stay there. Unwilling to go out into the sea to face adversity and challenges that come through growth in God, we remain in the inlet, allowing ourselves to be stagnant. This is the way of selfishness that God sometimes must awaken us from and get us out of. In order to get us out of decades of little to no growth and little, if any, productivity for God's Kingdom, adversity must come into our lives.


“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12 ESV). We are promised to receive trials in this life. All Scripture is Truth, and Truth is covered in reality. What is, is what is. The Bible does not drift from the reality that we will have tough times of immense pain and discomfort. God’s Word also declares that if we will humble ourselves and trust in God, that He will see us through to the very end. If we are willing to see adversity as an opportunity, we will be more likely to approach it and remain steadfast under trial.

Adversity is an opportunity to grow us in God, to mold us into the image of Christ, to gain a deeper knowledge and faith in God, and to be a living testimony of God's grace, power and love to others.

For adversity is an opportunity to grow us in God, to mold us into the image of Christ, to gain a deeper knowledge and faith in God, and to be a living testimony of God's grace, power and love to others. Many times we think adversity is all about us, when the majority of adversity is not about us at all. Yes, a bi-product is the growth that can occur within us, but many times we are called to be immovable as we stand upon the Rock of our salvation.

If we are honest, most of us would not move into the purposes of what God is telling us to do. We would remain living the easy life. In order for God to move us into the next phase of our life, He often times will allow adversity to occur.

Will not the Immutable God, Who has been with His people throughout all time, be with us also? Will He not deliver us from the enemy? Will He not guide us into where He is calling us? If we are honest, most of us would not move into the purposes of what God is telling us to do. We would remain living the easy life. In order for God to move us into the next phase of our life, He often times will allow adversity to occur. For adversity makes us uncomfortable. It should draw us to God and, in doing so, draw us out of routine and into what God is wanting us to do and where He is wanting us to go.

If we are not being afflicted by the world, we look too much like the world. If we are not being persecuted for our faith, our faith is little to nothing.

We must know that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19 ESV). If we are not being afflicted by the world, we look too much like the world. If we are not being persecuted for our faith, our faith is little to nothing. For those who are truly sold out for God and live in the power of the Holy Spirit as they progress throughout this life, they will be persecuted. They will be despised and hated. Adversity and affliction done to those who are righteous is simply confirmation that we are on the right path and walking down the Righteous Road of Christ.


By enduring pain and adversity and seeking God through it, we can become a beacon to others. The Holy Spirit’s Strength, Power, Authority, Love, and Grace can shine through us. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV).


Our life is not meant to be all adversity and suffering. However, we are called to face adversity in the strength of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of knowing that God is for us and not against us (Romans 8:31). O may we be as Paul and declare, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13 ESV).

If we as believers become easily shaken at every struggle and trying time, why would others want to know God? If we lack faith, will not the unbeliever see our response and continue to not have faith?

We must solely depend on God in the midst of suffering. We must believe He has a plan and purpose. We must know that He is trying to change us and move us. We must understand that we are to be a living testimony of the power of God. For if we as believers become easily shaken at every struggle and trying time, why would others want to know God? If we lack faith, will not the unbeliever see our response and continue to not have faith?


We are called to be children of the Light Who follow the Truth. This isn’t merely head knowledge, it is heart transformation. As God provides these opportunities of adversity, may we face them head on. May we not fall into the trap of self and allow the Enemy to make us cower and fear. May we not be anxious and fret. Instead, let us put our hope in what God is willing to do and has promised to do.

May we understand that the troubles we go through do not even compare to what many of the saints before us had to go through - being expelled from their houses and homes, burned at the stake for faith in Christ, crucified upside down, having their heads cut off, being whipped, stoned, and going through atrocities that only those bound to Hell could conjure up.

May God keep us from being those to whom He says, “Ye of little faith.” May we allow what is to come or what is currently taking place to take its course. May we learn within the season we are in. May we understand that the troubles we go through do not even compare to what many of the saints before us had to go through - being expelled from their houses and homes, burned at the stake for faith in Christ, crucified upside down, having their heads cut off, being whipped, stoned, and going through atrocities that only those bound to Hell could conjure up.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10

May we be as Paul and declare, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 ESV). May we know that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10 ESV).


PRAYER


God of Mercy, Grace and Truth, we come before You knowing that Your ways are not our ways and Your thoughts are not our thoughts. God, You are truly God. In an instant You can move and life can be changed forever. By Your Omnipresent Eye, O God, we know that You see us. You have a plan and purpose behind what You have allowed to take place within our lives. For if You allowed everything to be taken from Job and took care of Him, will You not do so with us? For You, O Lord, are the God of Love. You comfort the afflicted. You come near to the broken-hearted. Out of love, You give us the strength to endure adversity. May we not trust in ourselves, but may we solely depend on You. Annihilate self from us, Lord. Bring down the idols of comfort and ease. O God, change us and make us effective instruments for Thy Kingdom and Thy glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


Lance VanTine

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