Responding to Adversity

Some teach that if you’re a Christian that you will be healthy, wealthy, people will love you, children will flock to you, and birds will sit on your shoulder. Nothing could be further from Biblical truth.

Paul says in Philippians 1:12, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” Paul saw the benefits of his suffering and he saw how his imprisonment was not hindering the Gospel but rather it was furthering it. There are many benefits that God wants us to learn through suffering and difficult times.

Often when we begin to experience pressure or problems — especially in our marriage or in a job or even at church — our natural reaction is “How can I get out of this?” We look for an easy way out and completely miss the spiritual lessons and benefits that God wants us to learn. Our first response to adversity should not be to try and remove it, but to ask the Lord to show us His purpose in allowing it.

Are there character qualities that God is trying to develop in your life? Is He trying to develop the quality of forgiveness or meekness or humility? Is He trying to develop a spiritual mindset or a servant’s spirit?

Adversity can do one of two things: if we respond to it with humanistic reasoning and try to get out from under it, it can be one of the deadliest means of discouragement; if we respond to it correctly, it can be one of the greatest motivations for spiritual growth.