Responses to Adversity
As a Christ follower, it was hard for me to accept adversity in my life. In the beginning of my journey, I believed that while I would see some type of trouble in my life, He would keep me from the ‘big stuff’. That is one of the biggest lies of all time and a ploy of the enemy. Just because you walk with the Lord, it does not keep you from troubles. What it does do is give you a place of refuge when hard times strike.
I have Christ following friends who have dealt with extreme difficulties in this life. Everything from the death of a spouse to lost jobs to deep physical pain. Some are still wandering in the wilderness wondering if the Lord has forsaken them. Even though they know better, doubt is a constant companion on our journey with the Lord….and at times trying to understand all that is going on is a near impossibility.
How we react to our trouble speaks to the condition of our heart and relationship with our Father…and no, I don’t always get it right. The simple reality is God does not promise us a trouble free life. What He does promises is He will never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5b-6 because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
When trouble comes my way (after the initial shock) I accept it’s reality, I pray and then ask myself what is the Lord teaching me in this moment. Sometimes it’s not about me at all, but showing those around me how I rely on Him to sustain me in life. How do you react when life gets hard?
Responses to Adversity
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hab. 3:17-18).
When we experience adversity, we generally respond in one of three ways: (1) we become angry; (2) we try to gut it out; or (3) we accept it with joy.
When adversity comes our way, we say, “Why me, Lord?” We become bitter and resentful and blame God and others for our problems. We view ourselves as victims and demand that God answer our accusing questions: “Why don’t You love me, Lord? We feel entitled to life, health, wealth, and happiness.
Gutting It Out
Another way we respond to adversity is by adopting a stoic attitude, repressing our emotions. We lie to ourselves and say, “I’m gutting it out. I’m demonstrating endurance.” In reality, we are merely isolating ourselves with a shell of false bravado. We don’t meditate on God’s love, we don’t pray, we don’t believe God really has anything good planned for us. We simply tell ourselves, “This will soon be over. I’m a survivor.” We never receive what God has planned for us if we stay here.
Acceptance with Joy
This is the response God seeks from us. When adversity comes, we rest in His love and trust that He knows best. We realize that nothing can happen to us without His permission. If there is pain in our lives, we know it’s because God deems it necessary for our growth or wishes to use our pain to minister to others.
God revealed to the prophet Habakkuk that Israel was soon to be invaded by the Babylonians. Habakkuk knew that Israel was about to suffer intense adversity as part of God’s loving discipline of His people. Habakkuk faced the looming national tragedy with an attitude of acceptance with joy.
If Habakkuk could be joyful in the face of a national calamity, then we can rejoice in the Lord no matter what comes our way.