He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, April 25, 2016

Standing Through Adversity

          History is full of people who faced adversity, yet made amazing strides in their lives.  Helen Keller, both deaf and blind, learned sign language, wrote books, campaigned for women’s rights and was elected into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  Beethoven lost his hearing yet was able to write his Symphony Number 9 without ever hearing a single note of it.  Viktor Frankl suffered horrible terrors in the Nazi Concentration camps but was able to reach down within himself and draw on the will to live.1  These aren’t the only people who suffered great difficulties, and moved beyond their trials.

            We know the story of Saul before he became Paul.  He was what would be termed today, a terrorist!  He was wicked, doing all the things he believed he had a right to do.  He hunted down and killed believers, certain he was in the right.  Yet on the way to Damascus, God changed who Saul was.  In effect, he was indeed, “reborn.”   Saul gave up his old ways, humbled himself, and turned his life around. 

            As non-believers, before we came to Christ, we were no different than Saul.  We did what we believed we had the right to do because we were of the world!  We had places to go, movies to see, money to make, careers to advance, people to meet, and dates to keep!  We persecuted Jesus in our daily lives, just as Saul, before we humbled ourselves before God and turned our lives around.  

            Adversity comes to everyone.  We are going to have difficulty, misfortune, pressure and affliction.  It’s part of this life we cannot escape.  It’s how we react to our trials that determines if we’ll survive, give up, or move forward in a positive way.  If we attempt to face the trial on our own, without Christ, Satan is going to use every means he can to draw us into the depths of despair. The world will tell us to fight back, repay evil with evil, to be bitter and display our anger and discontent.

            But God’s Word says to honor Him in everything.  It is only when we humble ourselves before Christ, we are enabled to face the crisis with a level of peace.  We have to react with the belief that God can solve everything, but we have to be willing to search for Him, so we can glorify Him through the suffering.

            We can choose to be broken and defeated, listening to the negative voices that make us feel small and unworthy.  But we have to remember like Helen Keller, Victor Frankl and others who had to believe circumstances, obstacles and limitations mean nothing, when it comes to standing strong in our faith before whatever giant mountain looms before us.  It comes down believing God is bigger than any thing we are facing.

            We have to ultimately react as Paul did when God said, “Go.”  God clearly had other plans for him.  In the same way, God has plans for each of our lives, but we must be open to hear his voice and then be willing to say, “Yes, Lord.  I will be obedient.”

            So I challenge you to view your circumstances through the eyes of a true believer; one who knows God will not give us more than we can bear and who will be with us through whatever is before us.