WOFCF Bible Explosion
What are God’s purposes for allowing adversity in my life? – Lesson One
Point #1 Understanding Adversity recognize and appreciate God’s purposes for difficulties
James the Apostle recommended a surprising response to troubles: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2–4). The Apostle Paul expressed a similar perspective on adversity: “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:3–6).
These men understood that in light of what Christ did for us by providing salvation, the difficulties we experience in this life take on new meaning. They are a means through which God works to accomplish His will in our lives: to shape us so that we reflect the character of Christ. (See Romans 8:28–30.) On the basis of this purpose, all adversity “works together” for our good and God’s glory.
Point #2 Adversity gets our attentions
When adversity comes, we are forced to face problems and pressures that are too big for us to resolve. In this way, God gets our attention. We cannot continue to pursue our goals, tasks, and relationships in the same manner. We have to stop and evaluate our situation, ask God for wisdom, obey His Word, and trust Him to bring the help we need.
Troubles point out our weaknesses and prompt us to rely on God in ways that we wouldn’t unless we had significant needs. Christ’s invitation to those who are weary becomes very attractive in the midst of trials: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Adversity is a classroom in which we can learn more of Christ and become more like Him.
As we come to God with our needs, our inward prayer should echo these words of the Psalmist: “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me” (Psalm 25:1–2).
Point #3 Adversity reminds us of our weaknesses
The Apostle Paul knew what it meant to live with adversity that would not go away. He learned to see the good that God intended to bring to his life through it and to rejoice in God’s design. He wrote: “Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Corinthians 12:7–10).
As we accept our unchangeable features and embrace God’s purposes for our difficulties, we will experience the power of Christ in our lives. We can trust God to care for us and to provide all that we need. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame: he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13–14).
Point #4 Adversity motivates us to cry out to God
God responds to the cry of His children when they suffer. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).
· We are to cry out to God with our voice. “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill” (Psalm 3:4).
· We can cry out to God for mercy each day. “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily” (Psalm 86:3).
· We are to cry out to God in humility. “. . . He forgetteth not the cry of the humble” (Psalm 9:12).
· We are to cry out to God with a pure heart. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).