If you want God’s best for your life and desire to be used by Him, at some point you will have to travel the road of adversity. This means that God can and will use adversity in your life for a good purpose—and yet, sadly, many people view adversity as only negative and defeating. But you don’t have to be among them.
God has designed adversity, regardless of its source, to become a turning point from which you take your greatest leaps forward in spiritual growth. He allows adversity to remain in your life only until He accomplishes His purpose in you. He will not keep it in your life one second longer than is necessary.
Some people are almost wiped out by trials, while others learn to stand in the confidence of God’s faithfulness. The latter have an overwhelming sense of stability and immovable strength. They weather the storms, heads held high, confident, bold, and not discouraged by any obstacle that comes along. They feel absolutely certain God is going to see them through the heartache and bring them out whole, joyful, and more mature on the other side.
Adversity also shows us where we stand in our faith. Do we doubt God? Or do we thank Him for His faithfulness during the stressful, heart-wrenching times? Do we trust that He will never leave or forsake us? Adversity is God’s most accurate measure of our faith—it reveals our endurance level. None of us knows how much difficulty we can withstand until we are tried.
Right now, right where you are, remember this: God has put a limit on all adversity. Because you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit is living inside of you, and He knows how much you can bear. The psalmist said: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Ps. 34:19). And, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Ps. 103:13-14).
When we learn and mature in the midst of tremendous adversity, God is pleased because He sees His purpose being fulfilled in us. We are growing spiritually, becoming stronger in areas of weakness, and increasingly being conformed to the likeness of Christ. God is thrilled when we respond correctly to adversity!
There are three principles we can learn when we face adversity:
1. Adversity is God’s choice tool for building godly, spiritual character into our lives. Until we experience heartache, disappointment, and pain, we are not properly equipped for service (2 Cor. 1:3-7). He uses adversity to mold and shape us; He does not bring it into our lives without purpose.
2. Adversity usually comes in the areas where we feel the most confident. God wants to break us of the idea that we are sufficient on our own. He made us for a loving, intimate relationship with Himself, and He uses adversity to remind us of the fact that we are dependent upon Him.
3. God’s ultimate design is to conform us to the likeness of Jesus. Through adversity, God develops the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)—in us.
God also accomplishes several goals in our lives by allowing suffering and heartache. Adversity:
- gets our attention.
- reveals our weaknesses and strengths.
- increases our aversion to sin.
- demonstrates His faithfulness.
- strengthens our faith.
- removes our pride and self-centeredness.
- prepares us for future service.
- enables us to comfort others facing adversity.
Through adversity, God is molding you into a mature and effective servant. When you know Christ as your Savior, God sees you as a saint—sometimes struggling, sometimes falling, but justified, redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him. He sees a person full of His unconditional love, indwelt by His presence, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He also sees all of your potential—all the good you could accomplish for His kingdom. So take comfort—adversity won’t take up permanent residence in your life. But when it’s present, it can develop good things if you’re willing to trust Him. Therefore, no matter what dark moments you may walk through, be confident He’s going to bring you into the light. And when He does, it will certainly be worth it.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.