• Wayne Fox

We Learn From Adversity

We Learn From Adversity

God is at work in our lives through adversity we must learn to respond to what He is doing. God’s sovereignty does not relieve us of our responsibility. We must seek to learn from adversity that God is using to teach us and strengthen our faith. There are several things we can do to learn from adversity and received the benefits that God intends.

First we must submit to it.

Not as the defeated general submits to his conqueror, but voluntarily as the patient on the operating table submits to the skilled hands of the surgeon. We must not frustrate the purpose of God by resisting His Providence in our lives. Inasmuch as we are able to see what God is doing makes His purpose our purpose. I am not saying that we should not use all means to minimize the effects of adversity. We must accept from God’s hands the success or failure of those means as He wills, and seek to learn whatever He might be teaching us. Sometimes we may see clearly what God is doing. In those instances we should respond to God’s teachings and humble obedience. Other times we may not be able to see what God is doing. In these times we should respond in humble faith, trusting Him to work out in our lives that which we need to learn. God wants one attitude at one time and another attitude at another time. Both are important.

We must bring the word of God to bear upon the situation.

Ask God to bring to mind pertinent passages of Scripture and depend upon Him as we look at these passages. As we seek to relate the Scriptures to our adversities we will profit from the circumstances. We will gain new insight into the Scriptures. Martin Luther said “were it not for tribulation I should not understand the Scripture.” When we go to Scripture to learn how to respond to adversities we will find these adversities helping us to understand Scripture. Adversity enhances the teaching of God’s word and makes it more profitable to us. Adversity becomes the object lesson, which helps us to remember the lesson we have learned. It clarifies our understanding causing us to see truths we had passed over before. Adversity may transform “head knowledge” into “heart knowledge” as theological theory becomes a reality. God teaches doctrine by affliction; look at the children of Israel in Babylonian captivity. The truth we learn through affliction prepares us to receive God’s word, by making the stubbornness of our hearts more pliable, and capable of the impression of the word. Our adversities should make us submissive to God’s word and more dependent upon Him. God uses adversity in Scripture to bring about growth in our lives. Neither Scripture nor adversity would accomplish this alone.

We must remember the adversity and the lessons we learn from them.

God wants us to do more than endure our adversities even more than just finding comfort in them. He wants us to remember them not only as trials or sorrows. As His disciples, adversities are the means of bringing about growth in our lives. God said to the Israelites in: Deuteronomy 8:2–3 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

We must listen to every word that comes from the mouth of God (the word of God). This passage is not the word of Scripture but the word of God’s Providence. Psalm 33:6, 9 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host……..9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. Psalm 148:5 Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.

God wanted to teach the Israelites that they were dependent upon Him for their daily bread. God accomplished this not by incorporating this truth in Scripture, but God accomplished this by bringing adversity in the form of hunger. In order to profit from this adversity they needed to remember it. If we are to learn from the painful lessons God is teaching us we must remember them. Sometimes we try to usurp some of God’s glory for the glory we seek. We need to remember: Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

We must remember the painful events and let the lessons sink deeply into our hearts. Every time I stand up to teach God’s word I should remember this verse, this is the way adversity becomes profitable to us. Let’s look at some specific ends God has in mind when he allows adversity into our lives. These are not all the lesson God intends to teach but some of these mentioned, or inferred in Scripture. The specific objectives will help to encourage us to believe that God always has a reason for bringing or allowing difficulties into our lives. Even though we cannot discern what the reason is.

Have you ever experienced an adversity and when the adversity was over knew that you had grown spiritually because of the adversity?

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