This post is in answer to the questions on Pastor Phil's devotion today about the 5 Truths You Need to Know about Adversity.
1. What lessons have you learned from adversity?
Adversity either breaks me down or makes me strive depending on my own attitude, but God makes all things work for good. Adversity changes me; God changes me. Adversity equals everything happening for a reason. Adversity makes me grateful. Adversity toughens me and develops patience so I can "deal." Adversity reminds me of my character goals and gives me practice so I can get better.
2. How has adversity helped to develop your relationship with God?
When life's inevitable challenges arrive, it is God who loves me that gives me strength, wisdom, and a way out, even if that way out is not my way. I can always talk to God and He will guide me. Sometimes my path really winds about a bunch of curves before the light at the end of the tunnel hits, but hey, I can keep walking with Him every step of the way.
3. What evident truths give you strength to face the trials of life?
All five of the evident truths mentioned in the devotion give me strength to face those small or ginormous trials.
First, trials are certain (James 1:2). I've thought about this previously and this is text from my own words that I've written in my private OneNotes:
"does not say "if you face trials," but rather "when you face trials." One positive that can come from troubles is perseverance. Everyone has trials and trouble. No one is immune from them. It is sometimes comforting to know that we are not alone in this world and that everyone is going through some sort of troubles in their own time. We are to hold each other up and help each other through the troubling times."
Since I know trials are coming, rather than giving up, I prepare for them. Nothing physical can prepare me, but rather being mentally prepared before it hits and spiritually prepared by a relationship with God. Yep, now that's strength in motivation.
Second, trials point us to something Greater (with a capital G!). When I think of this, I think of those adversities in life that take us to the end of earthly life, such as cancer. God's final way out is the greatest thing given to us as a gift from God (with a capital G!). It is at these times I do not or will not need any of my own strength, but rely on His strength.
Third, trials build character. I love Pastor Phil's analogy of a math equation challenge. We wrestle with life's problems, have a stick-to-it-ivism, and a where-there-is-a-will-there-is-a-way, a self-motivational-kind-of-strength, and build a foundation of character to build on the next time a problem comes or way. We can only face adversity with God's Will, not our own, even though it may feel like our own. Yep. Good stuff.
Fourth, trials bring us back to God. That's sort of a "duh" thing for Christians. Yep, we all know that's true. We need adversity to make us run back to God when we wander away during the good times. Yep. As I said above, adversity makes me grateful. It reminds me to be grateful during the good times. There is strength in giving God all the credit.
Fifth, it's not knowledge alone. Now this is the ultimate answer to question #3. I can have knowledge about everything, but without God helping me put that knowledge into practice, the knowledge is no better than the Bible sitting on a shelf unread (or in this century, an app left unopened on our phone). Wisdom and strength come from staying connected with Christ who gives to me exceedingly more than I can ever imagine or pray.