The Purpose of Adversity
It is common knowledge that no one prays to go through difficult times in their lives. As a matter of fact, people pray to God to lead them through ways of pleasantness and minimal difficulty. But having understood some of God’s ways through the scriptures, I dare to say that the reason why some of us will go through some difficult times in our lives is because of the love God has for us. Don’t get this wrong, the end is not to put us through difficulty but to achieve his goals and purposes after we come out of those situations. And his plans are of good not evil to give us beautiful futures and wonderful ends. However, there is a process through which God allows us to go in order to prepare and equip us for our glorious destinies. Read this:
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-8.
A quick explanation of the above passage. First chastisement there doesn’t mean punishment or subjection to hardship. It means child training. If you read that passage with this in mind you will find that it makes more sense. It makes sense that a father should give training to his children whom he loves. In the same way God, our heavenly Father and Father of our spirits, subjects us to trainings that will profit us in life. This is love, that God gives us training to equip us and secure our futures. Next, it is important to note that there are no exemptions. Verse 8 says all the children of God are partakers of this training and those who are not are bastards. They claim God to be their Father but he is not. Even Jesus, who is the first born, endured suffering and temptation, and we are admonished to look to him as our example, as well as others who have gone before us(Hebrews 12:1-3). It is not a strange thing that we should go through trying times.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13.
There hath no temptation(adversity) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Certainly, we all have growing up experiences that we smile and laugh over when we remember now. For some, they didn’t like going to school or doing home works when they got back, but parents/guardians made them do them. Some never liked to clean the house and do chores but they had to do them anyway because parents/guardians insisted. Some didn’t even like taking their bath and brushing their teeth but parents/guardians made them do those things. At that time it all seemed like our parents/guardians were not nice. But imagine an adult who won’t brush his teeth or take his bath for several days at a time. What would you think of such a person, whose mouth oozes every time he speaks and has an unendurable body odour? And there are people like that. Those people failed to learn personal hygiene as children. Child training is meant to instil in children the disciplines that will make them function well later in life. At the time of discipline it doesn’t seem nice but eventually it yields profit, and trained children become grateful to their parents/guardians for the trainings they received, a lot of which were not pleasant at the time.
Our lives can be a lot more joyful and meaningful even in difficult times if we know that God teaches us important lessons through our difficult times. Now you can understand why James said this:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4.
With this understanding, difficult times can become times we cherish because we know that we are going to receive some training from God that will give us ADVANTAGE in life.
A look at God’s evaluation of the experience of the children of Israel in the wilderness and a declaration of his purpose and intention is quite revealing.
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread(natural means) only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end. Deuteronomy 8:3, 16
The point of the whole process is that God has ordained a path to our glorification which is in living with and functioning by the understanding that man shall not live by bread(natural means alone) but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. When we understand this and we learn to live by the word and wisdom of God we will find out that we will end up with great good in our lives. Read this:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7.
There is a wisdom which God ordained before the world which is hidden in his word alone and that wisdom is what God has ordained to bring us to glory. Except we understand that the glory which God ordained for our lives is hidden in his wisdom we will go on living our lives as ordinary men. But the plan of God is that through us, in our difficult times, his manifold(many sided) wisdom will be made known to the world, principalities, powers and even angels(Ephesians 3:10). The way this played out in the life of Jesus is that God let the devil kill him and because the wisdom of God was hidden, the devil thought he had won – Christ was dead and buried. But when the wisdom of God was made manifest, he raised Jesus from the dead and the devil was more miserable than he had ever been. Jesus had triumphed and made an open show of the devil and his cohorts. Jesus was glorified through the wisdom of God that was demonstrated. Salvation would never have been possible if God did not let the devil kill Jesus. Paul said it this way:
…even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8.
WITH THE WISDOM OF GOD, adversity is just a stepping stone to glory. It doesn’t matter what life and the devil throws at you. Not even death can stop the plan of God from coming to pass in your life. Click here to read more about that. . With the wisdom of God, all things work together for our good. Heads we win, tails the devil loses. Either ways we come out on top and in glory.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Proverbs 4:7-9.
This is why the Apostle, James tells us that in our times of trials let anyone who lacks wisdom ask of God who gives liberally without finding fault(James 1:5). We must understand that the wisdom of God to turn terrible trying times around is found in God alone and that he gives to those who will ask and he doesn’t find faults to disqualify his children. He prepared this wisdom in advance for our glory. Proverbs puts it this way:
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous… Proverbs 2:6-7.
It is only when we fail to understand the point of the whole process which is that our lives should be lived by the wisdom of God which he reveals in his word and not in accordance with natural laws and common practices; and that our lives were meant to show forth the wisdom and glory of God that we remain in our adversity and wallow in it.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
(but)If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:5, 10.
This means that it is the deficiency of wisdom that makes us to faint in the day of adversity. But with wisdom we will be strong and be able to navigate through our trying times into our victory and glory.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12.
P.S: Only in difficult and unusually hopeless situations is the hidden wisdom of God needed and it is this wisdom, when used that brings us into glory and makes us the light of the world indeed because only after we display such wisdom will the world learn of its existence which means we have illuminated the world with our light. So rejoice in your trial because you are about to shine forth like a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.
I pray for you today that the fact that man shall not live by bread(natural means) alone but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God shall man live will settle into your spirit, transform your mind and determine your experience. Receive the wisdom which God has reserved for you before the world for unusual breakthrough in the midst of your adversity be it financial, marital, in relationship, your career, academics, health, personal life and whatever area of your life that you need it. You are a city set on a hill and you shall continue to shine and be a blessing in Jesus name….
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You are blessed.