Watching the Olympics and sporting events, of many kinds has reminded me much of life. The “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” can be illustrated in every competition, race or contest. For one or some, the moment is sweet as the desired result is accomplished. And at the same exact moment the overwhelming weight of disappointment and defeat is being experienced by all other competitors. And if you continue in competition long enough, all emotions (both in celebration and in difficulty) will be experienced.
Let us call the difficult result adversity. Adversity, obviously, has much more to do with life then just athletics. It involves every person on the planet at one time or another and arrives in more forms then could ever be mentioned here. But we can all agree adversity is a difficult and painful part of life that can either make us bitter or drive us to the better.
When you hear the word adversity, what first comes to mind? Words associated with adversity include misfortune, trial, difficulty, defeat, disappointment, trouble, hardship, affliction, tribulation, pain, mishap, tragedy, setback and crisis. At first glance, none of these words or experiences appeal to any of us. However, against all odds, I have seen the Lord allow adversity to refine us, grow us, and make us stronger — as adversity catapults us forward to God’s bigger and better plan, purpose and perspective. In fact, I have witnessed the Lord recycle adversity for those who trust him with their lives, accomplishing literal miracles out of some of the most overwhelming tribulations.
Often in adversity, emotions of hurt, discouragement, frustration and anger can paralyze us in the moment. And all these emotions are common and understandable. But God says something amazing to all of us going through trials. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 Although joy is not a word we normally associate with adversity, we can discover what God alone can do in our lives as we rely on him more for renewal, strength, and determination.
Are you experiencing adversity today? Good news from God: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31.
Reach out to the Lord in your adversity today — He will lift you up. Guaranteed.
103 Second St. S.W.
Pastor Jeff Sanderson
Sunday school: 9 a.m.
Sunday worship: 10 a.m.