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« The God of the Miraculous | Main | Let’s Pretend »

Move Beyond Adversity

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

Are you having a tough time? That’s good!  If nobody’s criticizing you, maybe you’re not doing anything.  Real life is cut from the fabric of adversity.  Adversity paints graphic pictures in American history:  Washington and his men had to brace against the bitter cold crossing the Delaware.  The nation’s troops were overwhelmed by a bloody massacre at the Alamo. Abraham Lincoln had to bind up the wounds of a war-torn nation.  Pearl Harbor was bombed without provocation.  Add to these tragedies the Bataan death march, the explosion of the Challenger, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and much more, and it adds up to unrelenting adversity.  Despite these foes, this is arguably the world’s greatest nation. 

Some people seem to meet and surpass all adversity.  I knew a kid who would never cry uncle, even when someone twisted his arm until it broke. I’m not talking daredevils, fate-tempters and show-offs, but people who possess a buoyant, non-suppressible spirit.  If you’ve ever seen a picture of bear raiding a beehive, you get the picture.  When your goal means more to you than the pain of adversity, you will win!  So, the question is what’s your Adversity Quotient? (Paul Stoltz).  You may have many assets, but they all have a rendezvous with adversity.  Inspiration will encounter adversity. Ingenuity will encounter adversity, as will prosperity, success, favorable circumstances and organization.  The best plan in the world won’t work if you can’t take adversity. 

No disciple of Christ will have a prayer life without adversity standing in the way.  No one will have victory in the home without adversity.  No one will achieve an overcoming life without adversity.  No one will be an effective witness for Christ without adversity.  Stolz goes on to say that you can either be a Quitter, Camper or Climber. Quitters fold and run the other way at the first sign of opposition.  Campers find a pain level that they can live with and learn to cope within their self-diagnosed limitations.  Climbers, however, battle through all adversity to reach their goal.  The tougher the opposition, the more intensely they fight. 

God has empowered the church with the best bundle of assets in the world.  The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the born-again experience, the constant companionship with Christ—everything we need and want in our relationship with God.  You must expect adversity. “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Every trap, snare and stumbling block is before you, sickness, tragedy, trouble, rejection, human failure, temptations—every conceivable form of opposition will fight against you.  One fabulous revival story in a foreign land took place after depression claimed the life of a missionary as a suicide victim.  Another minister saw his child murdered in front of him by governmental agents.  “Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning!”  Psalm 30:5.  

God may not take away the adversity, but he will do two things: He will give you an increased capacity to absorb it!  God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. It’s true that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! It’s not that you become immune to adversity, but that never let it get the upper hand.

He will show you the way to defeat it! You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  I John 4:4. Go on the offense.  The best defense is a good offense.  Become accountable to your spiritual authority and fellow laborers.  Commit yourself to spiritual disciplines.  Destroy the material sources—toxic relationships, evil habits, temptations —of your failures.  Your adversity must never steal your advantage. Take it and move on!                                  

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