FACING ADVERSITY GOD’S WAY

2nd Corinthians 1:3-4

All praise to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.

What if my faith isn’t as strong as I think?  I was pleased with the progress in my spiritual journey. Now I’m not saying I’m perfect (far from it), but I’m certainly a kinder gentler soul than I used to be. But in the back of my mind that scary thought kept creeping to the front—what if my faith isn’t as strong as I think?

After all, life was good for me. I’d accomplished a lifelong dream of becoming a traditionally published author, had a godly husband to share life with, had a job that not only gave us extra spending money but one I enjoyed.

It’s easy to have faith when life is good.

I kept pushing that thought to the back telling myself not to be negative or a worry wart. In hindsight I wonder if it wasn’t God whispering for me to get ready—the ride was about to get bumpy.

And it did!

Not to dwell on all the bad things, but just to show you I’m not exaggerating about the adversity thing.

It started on Christmas Day with my stepson having another schizophrenic episode that required four hospitalizations in less than three months. During this same time period, I was told the school district I worked for was eliminating my position and that my husband would need triple by-pass surgery.

That was enough to test my faith, don’t you think?

But it wasn’t over. On April 1, I developed Bell’s Palsy and from that the doctors discovered two brain tumors (benign) that would require Gamma Knife treatment over the next year and a half (at least) and monitoring for the rest of my life since it’s probably part of  a genetic condition.

How’s that for some adversity?

Life has its hills and valleys, we all know that. Life can be tough whether we are “good” Christians or not. Unfortunately, when life isn’t going our way we might start to question our faith—maybe we aren’t good enough—maybe God doesn’t love us—maybe God is mad at us—maybe…maybe…maybe.  The questions can go on and on, and if we aren’t careful our faith can get shaky and weak—just what the devil wants!

I’m all for a healthy dose of self-examination or even a little complaining to God about our circumstances, but somewhere along the way our faith needs to kick in and take over.

Here are ten steps that I find helpful as I’m facing these tough times:

1.     Read, Study, and Understand the Bible.

2.     Believe in God’s love for you.

3.     Accept God’s sovereignty.

4.     Expect trouble.

5.     Pray.

6.     Don’t get stuck in the valley.

7.     Praise God.

8.     Guard your thoughts, words, and actions.

9.     Keep an attitude of gratitude.

10.   Focus on others.

 The first four steps prepare us to face our problems so they should be focused on from day one of your Christian life or start today if you haven’t already. The last five steps are what to do when life gives us more than we think we can bear. The fifth step—PRAY—belongs in the before, during, and after of the adversity.

As Paul said, God comforts us so we can comfort others and that’s my purpose with this series of devotions. I want to share what I learned on my spiritual journey in hopes that it will help you find your way in the difficult times.

I don’t have the space here to discuss each individual step, but over the next few months I will be taking a more in-depth look at each step.

SHARING TIME: How has your walk with God changed because of an adversity in your life?

 

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