If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. - Proverbs 24:10 (NKJV)
What is adversity to you? Is it represented by obstacles in your way, relationship issues or loss of control? It can come from without or within and can come in various levels of difficulty. However it comes, it usually isn't a very welcome visitor. I think it can mean different things to different people, but at its core, adversity is really just something that gets in the way of how we believe our own perfect worlds should look be.
Job was no stranger to adversity. We don't have to read very long in the book of Job to see the onset of the trouble that befell him. By the end of Job 2, we see that he had lost his family, his wealth and his health. From Job's own mouth he says:
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, And that which I was afraid of is come unto me. Job 3:25
Job had no clue as to why he had just lost everything. He had no idea of the spiritual "contest" going on between God and Satan to prove that Job was a man of fine character. So far, we haven't seen Job curse God for his trouble even though in his grief he was obviously declaring that he wished he had never been born. He has in fact been a good subject for the "test". Job, contrary to what Satan had been thinking, loved God for who He was, not for what God gave Him. This is a definite sign of spiritual maturity. When all was taken away from Job, he still loved God.
What is the thing you most fear? How would you react should that worst fear come upon you? We know we've all had our share of adversity. Let me throw out a few principles to think about and apply to our own lives.
1) Adversity provides opportunity to shine. If we never had to endure hardship, we would never have a chance to let others see our light in the darkness. After all, isn't it easy to be the "perfect Christian" when things are going our way?
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; - Philippians 2:14-15
2) Adversity provides opportunity for growth. If our faith is never challenged, our faith would never grow. Just like an athlete must train to achieve greater proficiency in his or her sport, so we must "train" through the trials of life. The key is to not waste the opportunities put in our path, but to take each trial and ask ourselves what God want us to learn from it.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: - Romans 5:3-4
3) Adversity provides opportunity for God. When we don't have enough strength to go on, but refuse to give up because we trust in God's provision for us, it is then that we see the glory of God working through us. Our weakness provides God the greatest avenue for God to work in our hearts and lives. While sometimes painful - after all, who wants to be brought to their knees, anyway? - it is always for the best...for God's glory and not our own.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Cor 12:9
Thank you for being so perfect, so good, and so patient with me as I work through the tests you have placed in my life. Forgive me when I'm not so thankful for them as I know I should be and help me to persevere without complaining so that I can shine for you. I want You alone to be my glory and my strength. Amen.