I have been studying "30 Life Principles" by Dr. Charles F. Stanley in my personal quiet time and wanted to share some of what God is teaching me about Life Principle #26 - Adversity is a bridge to a deeper relationship with God.
Adversity is nondiscriminatory - it is something all of us have to face as we go through this thing called life! None of us is immune to the trials and tribulations that this life can bring. Jesus even told us, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). When adversity comes, we have a choice to make - we can view it as a burden we have to bear, or as a bridge that will draw us into a closer, deeper relationship with God.
Adversity can be defined as a state of affliction, hardship, distress or pain. In most cases it is unexpected and life altering. It can come upon us suddenly and from sources we don't expect. The intensity of adversity is varied, but we can all agree that when we are going through difficult times it is very intense to us! Some adversity is the result of sin in our lives, but sometimes it is circumstances that are completely out of our control. Regardless of the reason, we can be assured that God is in complete control (Psalm 103:19) and He will somehow work the circumstances out for our good (Romans 8:28).
The way we respond to adversity affects not only ourselves, but also those around us. Others can be encouraged by the way we handle the difficulties of life, and some even brought to faith in Christ when seeing God’s faithfulness as a reality in your life. However, how often have we heard the negative effects on a marriage, children, parents, jobs, etc. when someone plunges beneath the burden, giving up on life or falling into sin? Likewise, the ministry God has called us to will be affected by our response. Our testimony will either be strengthened and bring glory to God; or be damaged, making our ministry ineffective and even hurt the cause of Christ.
When facing great difficulties in life I must ask myself, "is this a burden I want to bear alone or a bridge to a more intimate relationship with God?"
A burden by definition is something that weighs us down, a heavy load that is difficult to bear. It can be a source of great worry, anxiety and stress that results in sadness, discouragement, weariness, depression and even physical illness. In the life of a Christian choosing to view adversity as a burden can result in spiritual oppression. Many people crumble under the burden of adversity. They feel sorry for themselves; choose to escape by denial of the situation, or through addictive behaviors in an attempt to numb the pain; they feel hopeless; become bitter and angry; blame God and often turn their back on Him completely.
A bridge, on the other hand, provides passage over an obstacle, a gap or barrier; something that takes us from one place to another. We can rise above adversity by refusing to allow it to become a barrier between God and us. Instead, we allow God to use it for His plan and purpose, thus building a bridge that takes us into a deeper understanding of who He is and into a deeper relationship with Him. The wisest choice when facing adversity is to surrender my will to His so that His purpose will be accomplished in my life. This will result in my spiritual growth and a more intimate relationship with the lover of my soul!
1 Peter 1:6-7
Founder and President of Go Ministries, Inc.
Co-Founder and Secretary/Treasurer of Go Ministries, Inc