Many people are facing adversity today. They may be dealing with financial difficulties or suffering because of rebellious children. Perhaps they are hurting emotionally because of personal betrayal, or physically due to health issues. Adversity comes in a variety of different forms, but one thing is certain—it will come to each one of us sooner or later.
Some people crumble under the pressure of adversity. They become so bitter and resentful toward the Lord that they walk away from His calling on their lives. They might even resort to addictive behaviors to try to escape the pain. Others face similar challenges but have a totally different reaction. Instead of weakening them, difficulties make them stronger because these believers learn to depend more fully on the power of the Holy Spirit. Adversity can either be an overwhelming burden or a bridge to a deeper relationship with God.
No one wants to experience tough times. But when they come our way, we have a choice about how to view them: as a burden or a bridge. A burden, spiritually speaking, is a heaviness or weight that depresses us. We may feel weary or discouraged, without joy and peace. A bridge, by contrast, is a way to rise above difficulties and develop a more intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.
Two verses represent the foundation of this bridge to greater intimacy with the Lord. Psalm 103:19 says, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” In other words, God is in control of everything. The second verse is Romans 8:28, which says, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” When these two verses are correctly interpreted, they become a bridge that helps us overcome adversities.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Adversity-Burden or Bridge?” Come back to the blog on Sunday to learn about 12 lessons we can learn from adversity, or go ahead and listen to the message, which airs this weekend on TV.