Adversity. Much has been said and much can be said about it. Is it bane or blessing? A few thoughts. Adversity is defined as “a difficult situation or condition : misfortune or tragedy”. Adversity comes to all, as part of our ongoing experience in a fallen and broken world. Adversity builds character… so it is said; but there is more.
Adversity first of all reveals the character of the individual. When we squeeze a lemon, it’s no surprise that we get lemon juice. It’s what’s inside the lemon. When we are squeezed by the circumstances of life, what’s inside will come out/be revealed. Adversity can break you down and destroy you or build you up and empower you. Unlike the lemon, we can choose to change what’s inside; we can choose to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow through adversity.
No adversity seems pleasant at the time, only painful. In the midst of the trial,pain, frustration and despair, it’s hard to see what is being accomplished/formed in us. It is only afterwards that the fruit becomes apparent. Choosing our attitude in the face of adversity is one of the keys to building and refining character. The right attitude does not change the difficult nature of our circumstances; it changes our perspective on our circumstances. Winston Churchill referred to attitude as ” a little thing that makes a big difference”.
My proposed “Adversity Growth Equation” looks like this:
Adversity + Attitude = Opportunity – [opportunity to change, grow and mature].
Here are two things I am pondering as I think about my experience of adversity:
- You can’t give up on hopes and dreams because of adversity.
Because it’s difficult does not mean that God is not in it. Consider the story of Joseph, “the dreamer with the coat of many colours”. God used adversity in a variety of forms to change his attitude and grow his character, so that the opportunity to save nations could be realized through him.
I am hearing the words of a song running through my head as I write:
Is slowly replacing your hope with despair,
Or the process is long and you’re losing your song in the night.
You can be sure that the Lord has His hand on you,
Safe and secure He will never abandon you.
You are His treasure and He finds His pleasure in you.
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. [Steve Green]
There is hope in the midst of adversity. From my experience with adversity, the night can be long, but morning comes, and with it, a new day.
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