Adversity. I want to wrap up what we have learned in how to handle adversity, to put this together in one big nutshell. Adversity can and should be used as a time of spiritual growth. Let your faith in God and His Word grow your roots strong.
That word, adversity, can either give us a ‘chill’ or lead us to think we have done something wrong for this difficult time to be upon us. It certainly does not give us warm and fuzzy feelings.
There are other words for adversity that we often use such as difficult times, trials, troubles, tribulations, or persecution. The Collins Canadian Dictionary defines adversity as affliction or hardship. I would say the above alternate words are also suitable, wouldn’t you?
If you’ve been following me for the past few months you would have read at least six posts dealing with this subject. That is because my husband and I had been in the middle of an 18-month difficult time. While the difficulties existed and were designed to throw us off our stand, we remained faithful and strong while the winds of the storm assailed us.
Let me share with you the highlights of successfully coming through difficult times.
How to Respond in Trials
In the first post, How Should We Respond in Trials, we learn is that
- God has a plan to resolve the trial. He isn’t going to abandon you but He does want you to trust Him and let Him do what needs to be done to bring the best conclusion of your situation.
- continually commit the trial to the Lord, over and over. We are told to cast our problems on Him, 1 Peter 3:7, to commit everything to the Lord, Proverbs 16:3-4, to commit our way to the Lord and to trust Him, Psalm 37:5-6. Psalm 55:22-23 also reminds us to cast our burdens on the Lord.
- view the situation from God’s perspective. View big problems in light of our bigger God. Philippians 4:6-7 teaches us not to be anxious for anything but to bring everything to Him so the peace of God can guard our hearts and minds.
Standing on the Truth
It is one thing to read about someone’s journey through difficult times, and it is another thing to live it out. But it can be done. Standing on the truth means that we are applying what we learn and living it out.
James 1:2 tells us to be joyful in trials. I would think that James knew a thing or two about difficult times. He was Jesus’ disciple and the brother of John. After Jesus returned to heaven, and the disciples were filled with power from the Holy Spirit, and along with the other disciples, James went out teaching and preaching. Oh, yes, he knew all about difficulties. So why did he tell us to count it all joy?
Jesus said in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation. So, it is something we can expect to experience in our lifetime. How do we stand on the truth?
Adversity is not easy. But if we apply what we learn from James,
- that we count it as joy
- we let patience have its way, meaning don’t get impatient but practice being patient
- that endurance of this trial will present us complete, lacking nothing.
Practicing joy can be done. Other Scriptures that teach us how are:
- Psalm 31.7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities.
This means to praise Him.
- Psalm 59.16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.
This means to praise Him.
- Psalm 119.143 Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet Your commandments are my delight.
This means to praise Him.
How to Respond in Crisis
There are many ways to respond in crisis but when the rug has been pulled from under you, the proper thing to do is to
- turn to God in prayer and
- turn to the Word
Your strength comes from God and His Word. He will speak to you through His written word. Yes, He also speaks through the Holy Spirit and even at times through other believers, but primarily, He speaks through His Word. Bolster your faith through prayer and reading. You may even experience words popping off the page in 3D fashion as I did!
- reach out to your local church for fellowship and to help carry your burden.
Your brothers and sisters in the Lord are there for you. By sharing with them of your adversity, they will also have the privilege of giving praise and glory to God when He provides you with the victory. They will have seen your walk, seen your faith and can attest to your stand on the Word. Don’t deprive them of this privilege!
Behaviour That Honours God
We know that the enemy is going to attack over and over when we least expect it. Don’t let your guard down, remain standing in faith. So when you do experience another assault, behave in ways that bring glory and honour to God.
God isn’t going to abandon you at any time during the duration of your adversity. He isn’t going to leave you alone to figure things out for yourself. When He gives you Scripture verses to hang on to, you can believe that He will do what He says He will do.
To honour God,
- have an attitude of thanksgiving. Thank Him for His faithfulness to you. He knew of the unexpected news you received and He has a plan to deal with it. In fact, He had a plan to deal with this before you were born! So trust Him and be thankful for all He is doing and going to do for you!
- spend time with Him in prayer. He wants to hear from your heart. Yes, He knows your heart, what you are thinking and feeling but He wants to hear your voice. It’s for you. You need to talk with Him and so He wants to hear you. So, spend time in prayer about this new ‘upset’. Talk things out with Him. Listen to Him when He replies to you. It could be through His Holy Spirit or through the Word. But listen and take courage that He is with you.
- ask Him for His wisdom in how to deal with this. He knows what you need to do. He is going to fight your battle for you but when He tells you it is time for you to act, you need to be ready. Heavenly wisdom will be your help, your direction.
Remember this, adversity is a spiritual attack. Paul taught in Ephesians 6:11-17 about the Armour of God. Take note of the word “stand” and “withstand”. It is used four times:
- stand against the wiles of the enemy
- the armour will help you to withstand
- having done all, STAND
- Stand therefore…
STAND, sisters, Stand!
As Andrae Crouch sang in his song, Through It All, my husband and I can say that we have learned that we can trust in God, that He is true to His word and that His thoughts and ways are far better than ours so when He gives the victory, it is the best victory!
So sisters, I hope this has been an encouragement to you to stand strong in your faith. Do not let the enemy knock you over. You may totter for a bit but you will regain your balance as you live out the truths as mentioned in this post as they are originally penned in the Holy Word of God!
Drop me a line or two. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I am honoured that this post was selected to be featured in Salt & Light Link Up by Carmen Brown of Married by His Grace.