Sunday, June 9, 2013

Counting My Blessings- Adversity

I had another thought in mind for today's blessing but I am holding onto it until next week.  The reason why is very simple- several people who I care about- both friends and family- have been dealing with some adversity in their lives.  It has been everything from emotional and spiritual adversity to a physical adversity (a "thing" not body). 

C.S. Lewis had a lot of wisdom in these words.  A lot of the thoughts from this came from my drive home and then this song that came on while traveling: 

along with a book we are reading in our Singles ABF (Sunday School) class at church called Trusting God by Jerry Bridges.  In my reading this week I came across this verse from Ecclesiastes 7:14  "In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him."  

From the book (page 51-chapter 3) "God controls both the good and the bad.  God has not looked the other way or been caught by surprise when adversity strikes us.  He is control of that adversity, directing it to His glory and our good."  They used the comparison of putting yourself in the shoes of James' wife and Peter's wife after James was killed and Peter was saved. Jerry Bridges says, "Trusting in God does not mean she doesn't suffer grief, that her heart does not ache.  It means that in the midst of her heartache and grief she can say something to the effect of, 'Lord, I know You were in control of this dreadful event. I do not understand why You allowed it to happen, but I trust You.' I readily admit it is difficult to believe God is in control when we are in the midst of anxiety, heartache, or grief... just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must learn to trust God one circumstance at a time...Our first priority in times of adversity is to honor and glorify God by trusting Him."

Now, I know that most of this post is made up of quotes and the thoughts of others.  However, here's my bottom line- I know that life is not easy- there's a lot of people who struggle daily with the various ups and downs of life.  And, it's even harder when that person is a Christian because there's the tendency to throw doubt or lack of faith in the mix (even when it's thrown there by others because then it gets into your head).  I have found that the blessing is found in being faithful in spite of adversity.  The staring the problem in the eyes and not letting the problem "beat you" but instead choosing to trust that there is a lesson and growth in the circumstance.  I keep coming back to these two passages:

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)  and

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4).  I placed the emphasis on WHEN because that's exactly what it says- WHEN, not if, not maybe but WHEN.  I WILL face trials- but those trials are there for me to grow from and share my experiences with others!  

So- to those who are struggling with the day to day adversities in life- or even the ones that come up every now and then- hang on- the tree you are hanging on to- will be the very one that will save you.

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