Have you ever gone through a difficult period in your life when all hope seemed lost and you just wanted to give up? Maybe it was when you went through a divorce, lost your job, or buried a family member. Or perhaps you’re going through something like this right now and you’re desperately wondering, “Where is God in all of this?”
When life gives us trials that seem too difficult bear, it’s easy to want to give up and to believe the reason we’re suffering is because God is punishing us or that He doesn’t really love us. But God wants us to know the truth about adversity and how we’re supposed to deal with it.
Here’s what God says about adversity:
- It’s normal – In fact, we shouldn’t be surprised when we’re faced with adversity. Jesus said clearly: “In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33)
- It’s purposeful – God sometimes allows adversity in our lives so that we will grow. In Romans The Apostle Paul writes: “And we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom. 5:5) When we’re going through a tough time, it can be helpful to ask God what He wants to grow or develop in us through our pain.
- It’s powerful — God wants transform our lives through adversity by confirming, strengthening and establishing us. He promises to help get us through anything. His Word says that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. (Phil 4:13)
- It’s temporary – As Christians, we need to live in the now, in light of the forever. When we have an eternal perspective we can have joy in the midst of adversity.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “This all sounds well and good, but what I’m going through is too difficult! I’ve reached my limit!” But before you give up, here’s the good news:
First, you were never meant to face adversity alone. We need God’s help. And God promises that when we cry out to Him, He is faithful to help us. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Second, God promises that when we choose to trust Him and to keep pressing on we will experience a great reward, both in this life and in eternity. In the book of Hebrews, the writer addresses a group of people who are experiencing a lot of pain and adversity. His encouraging message to them – and to us – is this: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:35-36)
Part of our reward in going through adversity is that we will build endurance, strength and character. The other part is that as we learn to trust God’s character and His Word, in all things and for all things, we can develop an intimacy with Him like never before.
Through adversity, God wants to wean us from our pride and self-dependency, usher us into deeper intimacy with Jesus and redirect our paths to insure our greatest good and His greatest glory. And He does all this as we learn to trust Him.
This week, we’re starting the new series Keep Pressing Ahead. In it, we will explore in depth how to face adversity, overcome personal attacks, what to do when we’re faced with life’s most difficult circumstances and discouragement, and how to face our personal failures. During our time together, my prayer is that as we learn how to successfully navigate through life’s difficulties we will more fully experience God’s transforming love.
Keep Pressing Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip