Adversity is the tool God uses to develop his followers into extraordinarily capable ambassadors in service to His eternal purpose. We are in training for our eternal existence in the kingdom of God. In much the same way we would train for any Olympic sport or any other athletic endeavor, we are challenged to our maximum in an effort to increase both our strength and ability to their full potential. Athletic training is hard work and often painful. Training to become a true servant of God is also hard work and often painful. Keep in mind, no matter how difficult your life is today your faithful service to God will reap unimaginable rewards in your eternal life to come.
The world we live in is filled with the enemy’s diversions. It’s easy to get pulled off in the wrong direction and overwhelmed with worldly things rather than the things of God. Adversity is sometimes used by God to open our eyes to the enemy’s misdirection and point the way to a more productive path forward.
Frequently, when we are challenged with adversity, we discover the solution is not within our own power and our only hope is to trust God completely. We all have a tendency to try to solve our problems ourselves, and sometimes neglect to seek God’s help. Those of us who have been walking with God for more than a few years, all have many examples of problems that were obviously solved by God, rather than as a result of our own strength. These are important moments in our relationship with the Lord. These profoundly overwhelming experiences are used by God to strengthen our trust in Him.
Just like lifting weights builds muscle, adversity builds perseverance. The longer our spirit is able to endure difficult times the more useful we are in service to God. The book of James begins with this familiar verse, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) Athletes find joy in the hard work it takes to develop their strength. In the same way, we are to find joy in the difficult times God uses to develop our spiritual awareness.
The stories about God’s faithfulness found in the Bible come alive when we experience it first-hand. God would be unable to demonstrate His faithfulness without adversity. Psalm 34:19 tells us this, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” Every time we experience God’s faithfulness in our life, our faith in Him is strengthened and we are more devoted to following His teaching. We find this in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” We can count on God. Every trip through the deep valley of adversity is a chance for God to guide us back to the mountain top where we can clearly see his never-ending faithfulness.
Probably one of the best byproducts of adversity is our ability to help others who are experiencing similar circumstances. As we struggle to overcome difficult times, our connection to God is our greatest source of comfort. When we find the path beyond our troubles, guided by the Holy Spirit, we are thereby gifted with the spiritual strength to comfort those who are still struggling. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us this, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” This verse is a perfect example of how God uses adversity to train believers to be His ambassador in service to others.
Praise God for his thoughtful and compassionate use of adversity to help us grow in spiritual strength! Like a celebrated Olympic coach, our Lord pushes all believers to the limits of their endurance and not beyond. He stands ready to intercede on our behalf whenever needed; and He pushes us as hard as he can to achieve his ultimate goal of victory over the enemy.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Challenging times are always in God’s control. No matter what we are going through, God is with us. God will never allow us to be overcome by adversity. There is nothing in this world that can stand toe-to-toe with the awesome power of God. No matter what we are facing, we will eventually find our way back into the loving arms of God – stronger, wiser, and ready to serve Him in a new way. Every moment of adversity will one day be rewarded with unimaginable blessings from God. If we keep our feet firmly planted on the rock of our salvation, we will never be disappointed and we will ultimately find a victory that goes on forever.
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