Trouble comes in many forms - accidents, sickness, death, failure, disappointments, and disasters, such as the Halloween weekend flood of 1998. Sometimes the trouble comes unexpectedly and sometimes we have a warning. Some adversities merely require little effort to overcome, while others are permanently wounding and we must find a way to triumph and overcome in spite of them.
Adversity literally means “something acting against you.” In the Bible, God makes it clear that He sometimes sends adversity either as a punishment for sin, or simply as a way to test and strengthen our character. Other times, Satan sends adversity to try to get us to sin - and God allows it. Sometimes we bring adversity on ourselves by acting foolishly or sinfully. And finally there is the adversity that comes out of nowhere, through no fault of our own.
One thing we can always count on - Adversity will come. We all will have troubles. The issue becomes this, WHAT WILL WE DO WITH ADVERSITY WHEN IT COMES?
How does the Word of God say we should deal with adversity?
2 Cor. 4:8-9 - (Paul speaking) “ We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.”
James 1:2-4 - (James speaking) “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”
The Halloween flood of 1998 is a good example of adversity. It affected a multitude of people directly and indirectly. I have seen this community come together, especially the churches to support and help the flood victims. I have seen our church family reach out to minister and encourage one another. I have seen countless individuals struggling with their losses. Sometimes the shear magnitude of damage and repair work seemed to be overwhelming. But through all of this I saw a unity of this community, and a unity of God’s people.
Just as Paul, we were pressed on every side by trouble, but we did not break. God was with us through the whole process of recovery. God never abandoned us. The flood knocked us down, but we got back up and kept going.
None of us asked or prayed for this flood, but it came anyway. Just one of the many adversities that happen to people. I can thank God that because of this particular adversity, I, as many others, have grown and developed to be strong in character and faith.
Thank you, God, for this adversity. Thank you, God for this flood.
Ollie L. Belt (Mar. 1999)
Touch Point Bible, NLT