Two days after my 33rd Birthday I was arrested for a crime I did not commit. I spent two and a half days in county jail, placed on indefinite house arrest, lost my daughter for two weeks, lost my job, health insurance and financial security. Anxiety, fear, worry and depression overtook me. I began to question my existence and felt embarrassed, worthless and forgotten by God. Yet, though He slay me, still will I hope in Him. For I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
You may be battling a situation that feels hopeless and think God has abandoned you, but consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Overcoming adversity will require you to have faith, be thankful and change.
Faith: When facing adversity, we often take refuge into our own carnality – into things that give us temporary satisfaction (food, sex, clothes, alcohol, drugs, gossip, etc.). Those things only pre-long our suffering. To overcome adversity, we must place our faith in God. For we know that He causes all things (good and bad) to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them. God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. It may take longer than you expect but have faith that God will provide and take care of you. Those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Thankfulness: In times of great adversity, seek, praise and thank God. Your thankfulness is pleasing to God and will confuse the enemy. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and thank Him for all He has done. So, thank God when you get the job and praise God if you lose it. Thank God for the new relationship and praise God if it ends. Thank God in the delivery room and praise God at the gravesite. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Change: Overcoming adversity will require you to change. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Your adversity is an opportunity to grow closer to God. Use tough and difficult times as an opportunity to transform your thinking and way of life so you’re prepared when God elevates you. What you suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to you later.
My hardships were good for me, for they taught me to pay attention to God’s decrees. I’ve learned that God isn’t in the titles, money and material goods we value, but He reveals himself in the simple things of life – in the prayers of a mother, smile of a child and kindness of a friend.
Overcoming adversity, lost, hurt and disappointment isn’t a onetime occurrence - it’s something you’re going to have to manage daily. Some days you will feel like you are more than a conqueror while other days you may struggle to get out of bed. Our job is to remain faithful to God while His job is to prosper us. David proclaimed, “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly forsaken…”. I am going to make it and so are you!