Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adversity, Who's to Blame...Part 3 of 3

Life is short. It's the next one that lasts forever. Adversity can make our days feel like eternity. For Joseph, adversity lasted years. In the end he triumphed, and his family was saved from certain death. He accepts the fact that God had a plan. On the other hand, Job's family was wiped out. Yet he says it was only a test.

Let me get this straight, Job. You're saying that God's purpose in testing you was to find out where you stood with Him?

Yes, even if He killed me I would still trust Him for my deliverance. That is why I said it was good that He tested me. I would not want to be a godless man standing before Him.

So right you are, Job!

David, are you saying that if God sends adversity, we should ask for more?

Hast thou lost thy marbles? No one is going to ask God to send more pain into their life. But we do make mistakes and God uses adversity to set us straight. I'm telling you, God corrected me severely, but He didn't take my life. He could have put me through hell but He didn't. In the middle of His discipline was love. I went down the wrong path. He was there to steer me in the right direction. When adversity comes from our mistakes there is hope. If we're honest and admit that we messed up we can find the strength to get up and go on.

Dave has a point. When I was in the middle of that drought I didn't ask for more dry weather.

What did you ask for Elijah?

I asked people how long they were going to sit on the fence. I challenged them to make a choice. Adversity helps to prepare our hearts for what God wants to do in our lives. It helps to get us off the fence, and find purpose.

That's right! We can be more than conquerors.

What do you mean, Paul?

Winning doesn't always mean walking away with the gold. Rather, it can be the ability to endure; having the courage to go on. Sometimes, it is just standing firm in the middle of the storm. If we stand in the strength of the Almighty God, then we can know that adverse circumstances do not have control over our lives. God has control over our lives.

In this world you will have adversity. But I will not abandon you. I want you to be unshakable and assured. I want you to have peace.

Lord Jesus, please continue.

I want you to learn to trust me. I don't want you to think that I have lost control when adversity comes into your life. I will try your heart and test your faith because Father requires it. But I will personally see to it that you are able to bear it. I wish I could convey to you how desperately I want you to know me, to understand how precious you are to me. That is why I willingly walked through the deepest pit of adversity. A pit filled with wrath and judgment. I, who knew no sin, became sin to save you. When adversity comes your way it is not because I don't love you, but because I do. I know it may be hard for you to understand. My ways are not your ways. But if you trust me just a little, I promise I will walk you through it.

To sum things up, adversity is a reality we cannot escape. It might come to us in the form of trials for our good and the good of others, or tests of our faith, or even tribulation brought on by our own mistakes. I hope we have learned a few things from our guests.

1. Focus on God, no matter how awful things get. We may not be able to find it within ourselves to trust God as Job did. Not many of us can say, "Even if He kills me I will trust Him". But be honest with God and tell Him how you feel. Trust is not something we muster up inside of ourselves. It comes from God. He puts His arm around our shoulder and says don't be afraid. I am with you. I will keep a firm grip on you and hold you up.

2. Focus on the adversity as something that comes from God. Follow Joseph's example. Tell yourself this is from God and He is using it to bring a greater good, a pronounced purpose into my life. God knows the plans He has for your life, to prosper you, not to harm you; it is a plan to give you hope and a future.

3. Focus on being a winner. We can expect to come out on the other side of adversity as a winner because God has everything in perfect control. More than conquerors means just that, more. We will have more fortitude, more character, and more hope than when we went in. The world says, run. God says stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord.

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