Seeing A Greater Purpose In Adversity
There are days I’d rather be off doing something different with my life. Something that would allow me some leisure time, the ability to make more money, have a few more days off and heck, maybe race my car that’s sitting in storage. But that is not His plan for us at this point in life. Instead we have chosen to embrace this place He has us and do what He has called us to do, be an example of His grace and mercy in our community.
When life gets hard, or something unexpected happens, our normal reaction is to do everything we can to get out of the circumstances we find ourselves in. What if instead of working hard to remove ourselves from the place we are, we embraced our situation, went to the Lord, asked why He brought us here and what He would have us do?
Paul often found himself in similar situations such as one of the times, yes one of the times, he was in prison and had the opportunity to escape but didn’t. Why, because he knew the Lord wanted him to witness to his jailer…and he did and the jailer and his whole household gave their lives to Christ. Think about how that one act impacted the Kingdom of God. There is no telling how many more people were touched through this one act. (Read Acts 16:16-40 for the whole story.)
Do you find yourself in a place you’d rather not be today? Maybe you caused yourself to be there, maybe not, but either way you are where you are and it seems like there is no way out of your circumstances. I know I have been there myself…more often than I want.
What if we took advantage of the opportunities the Lord gives us, in circumstances we would rather not be in, to be a greater force for Him? Instead of avoiding our situation and looking for an out because we are uncomfortable, we looked to the Lord for what He would have us do. Imagine the impact we could have if we changed our perspective. I’m not talking about hundreds or thousands, but you making a difference in one persons life. Paul did and impacted an entire household. Next time you’re in a place you’d rather not be, ask the Lord what He would have you do there, you may be surprised by His answer.
Seeing A Greater Purpose In Adversity
by Os Hillman
But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” – Acts 16:28
Paul and Silas had just been thrown into prison. An earthquake erupted and the jail cell was opened. It’s Paul and Silas’ opportunity. “Deliverance! Praise God!” might be the appropriate response. But this is not what Paul and Silas did. In fact, rather than leave, they sat quietly in their cell area. The guard, in fear of his life, knew that it would be automatic death if prisoners escaped. Paul and Silas did not leave because they saw a higher purpose for which they were in prison. They were not looking at their circumstance; they were much more concerned about the unsaved guard. The story goes on to explain how Paul and Silas went home with the guard and his family. Not only did the guard get saved, but his entire household as well.
What a lesson this is for us. How often we are so busy looking for deliverance from our circumstance that we miss God completely. God is looking to do miracles in our circumstances if we will only look for them. Sometimes as workplace believers we become so obsessed with our goals we miss the process that God involves us in, which may be where the miracle lies. What if that bill collector who has been hounding you is unsaved and he is there for you to speak to? What if a problem account has arisen due to something God is doing beyond what you might see at this time? Our adverse situations can often be the door of spiritual opportunity for those who need it.
I saw this personally when God allowed me to go through a number of adversities. It took some time, but I saw some great miracles as a result of those adversities. When God said that “all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purposes” (see Rom. 8:28), He meant all things. It is up to us to find the “work together for good” part by being faithful to the process. In the next adversity you face, tune your spiritual antennae and ask God for discernment to see the real purpose for the adversity.