We continue, having begun our journey of faith; we’ve discussed how to ask for and follow directions. Everything is moving along until. There it is, a bump in the road, adversity. There are no smooth roads on the way to paradise, but with God by our side we can persevere through adversity. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our next topic on our journey of faith involves the bump in the road. Where do we turn when things don’t go according to our plans? Wait, that might be the problem right there, our plan. The hurdles and obstacles we face may exist because we are following the wrong plan.
I am reminded of a farmer sitting on his porch as a car came up the drive. The driver asked if he could help him find his destination. The farmer proceeded to provide directions to the lost driver. After an hour or so the car reappeared in the driveway. A little frustrated the driver gets out of the car and approaches the farmer, “Why am I back where I started?” The farmer explained, “I wanted to see if you could follow directions before I wasted my time giving you directions to your destination.”
Has someone ever come to you, because you have experience and asked advice about how to do a project they have never done? You take your time, ask some questions, figure out what they need to do and provide the answer. Only to check on them to see how they were doing and you find out they ignored your answer. You feel like you wasted your time and are reluctant to do it again.
We are all guilty of seeking guidance and direction only to consider it, not to follow it. We become our own worst enemy and self-create adversity in our lives. Life has enough difficulty without creating more. As I counsel many who come to me with a list of difficulties and adversity that I determine is self-created, put down the shovel! We have the ability to dig a hole we can see no way out of and lose faith.
Sometimes adversity is not created by us. The obstacles we face are a result of the choices others make that affect us. We have to understand that no decision is made in a vacuum. That means that the choices we make and the choices others make have consequences beyond the intent. All decisions have consequences that extend beyond us and usually what we can see or comprehend; “had I know that would happen I would not have done that.”
In this journey we will face adversity, self-created or at the hands of others, it is something we have to learn how to deal with. It isn’t fair, it isn’t right, it isn’t our fault; it doesn’t matter, adversity will find us. Our ability to move beyond it goes a long way to whether we will see the hand of God and His blessing.
Isaiah 43:1b-3b; NLT; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Isaiah provides the greatest tool we can use to overcome adversity; God is with us! We do not walk alone; He is by our side. Sometimes He even carries us through. God knows the way we take, no matter if it is the way He directed us or not. He is acquainted with the pain and suffering we endure.
Romans 8:13; NLT; What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Romans 8:38-39; NLT; And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If we want to have the faith to overcome adversity there is only one well to draw from, God. He knows the past, present and future. He knows our every step. For us to be where we need to be, get through what we need to get through and enjoy the blessings we have to put our trust and faith in Him.
In Genesis 37-50 we read the story of Joseph. He endured some adversity in his journey; kidnapped by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown in to prison, received a promise to get him out only to be forgotten, finally the opportunity came for his release and he was redeemed, put in a place of authority and used his power to provide for his brothers and their families in the time of famine. Yes, the same brothers who were envious and jealous of him, threatened to kill him and sold him onto slavery. Joseph endured adversity because God was at his side. And he explained to his brothers;
Genesis; 50:19-21; NLT; But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
Facing hardship, persecution and difficulties is part of the journey, but we should never forget that we cannot be separated from the love of God through Jesus Christ! The source of the fire may be cruel or malicious intentions on the part of others, but ultimately God is the one who is controlling the temperature and allowing us to pass through it.
And if the all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God is allowing one of his children to pass through affliction, we can rest assured that there is a purpose behind it. We may not see it yet. We may not even agree with it. But rest assured that when God has tried us, we will come out as refined, purified gold, reflecting His image.
We can rest in the wonderful assurance that God is next to us in our trial and still on his throne in heaven. He knows the way we are taking, and He is in control over every detail of our difficulty. He will never leave us or forsake us. Overcoming adversity requires putting our trust and faith in God.