Dealing with Adversity – by Brady Tarr
“All Christians face adversity and trials, but because God is at work in our lives through adversity, we must learn to respond properly to what He is doing.God teaches us through adversity so we must seek to learn from it. Think with me now about several things we can do in order to learn from adversity and receive the beneficial effects that God intends.
First, we can submit to it–not reluctantly as the defeated general submits to his conqueror, but voluntarily as the patient on the operating table submits to the skilled hand of the surgeon as he wields his knife. We should not try to frustrate the gracious purpose of God by resisting His providence in our lives. Rather, insofar as you are able to see what God is doing, make his purpose your purpose.
Second, to profit most from adversity, we should bring the Word of God to bear upon the situation. We should ask God to bring our attention pertinent passages of Scripture as we look for them ourselves. Although we may be going to the Scriptures to learn how to respond to our adversaries, we find those adversities in turn help us to understand the Scriptures.
Third, in order to profit from our adversities we must remember them and the lessons we learned from them. God wants us to do more than simply endure our trials; he wants us to remember them and the growth that they bring about in our lives.
God spoke to the Israelites, remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you… He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna… to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:2-3). God wanted to teach the Israelites that they were dependent on him for all things including their daily bread.
In the spiritual realm, God must prune us. As believers, we still have a sinful nature and we tend to pour our spiritual energies into that which is not true fruit. God uses adversity to loosen our grip on those things that are not true fruit.
A severe illness or the death of someone dear to us, the loss of material substance or the tarnishing of our reputation, the turning aside of friends to the dashing of our cherished dreams on the rocks of failure, cause us to think about what is really important in life. Position or possessions or even reputation no longer seem so important. We begin to relinquish our desires and expectations – even good ones – to the sovereign will of God.
There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain that He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory. May we all pray regularly for God to prepare our hearts to be sensitive to what He desires to teach us through the next adversity we face.
Much of the content of this devotional was taken from the book Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. It is a tremendously helpful book with regard to trusting God in the midst of difficulties and trials. I highly recommend it. (See link below)
By Jerry Bridges
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