Serving the community since 1922

Pastor's Corner: Wisdom and adversity

We live in a world full of trials, troubles, struggles, hardships, frustrations and disappointments. Adversities happen unexpectedly and are out of our control. Loss of a job, an opportunity, money, health, or a loved one. "Man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upwards" (Job 5:7). The wise Christian expects troubles in our fallen world. God's Word reveals a wise perspective to understand adversity and to make a righteous plan to face it when it inevitably arrives.

Adversity turns you to God. Adversity is used by God to turn us back to Him and His Word in greater trust and dependence. The book of Psalms is a great place to turn when you are struggling in adversity. "Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; bring me our of my distress!" (Psalms 25:16-17). The Psalms often move from low to high, when a beleaguered soul turns to God in trust, praise, and hope. "Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord." (Psalms 31:23-24; also see Psalms 34:17-19; 1 Peter 5:6-7).

Adversity builds character. Adversity is used by God to build our character and growth in Christlikeness. "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" (Romans 5:3b-4). The wise may rejoice in tribulations because when difficulties are met with faithfulness, then they result in endurance and Christlikeness. Tribulations in life are like a forge where we are the metal and the master craftsman's hammer comes down and pounds on us with trials, to form us into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Remember the fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23a). How are adversities helping you to grow in these areas?

Adversity offers opportunities. In adversity the Christian qualities of faith have the opportunity to shine brightly in our lives. Opportunities like giving a testimony, growing in the Christlikeness, and reaching out and serving others. "[God] 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" (2 Corinthians 1:4). After we endure trials, then we are able to offer comfort and advice to others who are going through the same struggles. What a tremendous God-given opportunity for mutual encouragement, love, comfort, consolation and counseling.

Adversity adds wisdom. All adversity will push you to react wisely and to grow from the experience (James 1:2-5). Christians should pray earnestly for God's wisdom to press on, to be faithful and to skillfully navigate the trial in the best and most God honoring way possible. What specific Scriptures apply to my hardship? How may God be using this trouble to turn me to Him in greater faith and dependence? What areas of my character is God refining me more like Christ? What opportunities to repent, to forgive, to love or to reach out to others have arisen because of this trial? What specific wise principles have I learned through this whole ordeal? God gives the faithful the answers in His Word and strength to endure any adversity.


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