Most of us tend to do whatever we can to get out of the path of adversity. We will try to think our way out of a mess, look for help from others, or pray that God will just make it stop. Additionally, we all experience the constant inundation of advertisers that offers products to relieve and remove our troubles. They promise to give us access to the good life to which we are all “entitled.” If your difficulty is weight, muscle tone, sickness, finance, loneliness, depression, or erectile dysfunction – “We have a product that will take care of that for you.”
God’s ways are often very different from ours. He uses the hurdles and stubborn obstacles of life to deepen us and produce lasting fruit in our lives. Wisdom and character are grown through adversity, not through escape. There is no product that you can buy that will give you the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) or understanding of the ways of God. These are only forged through a mixture of God’s truth, His Spirit, and the kinds of adversity from which we usually seek to break away.
God has designed life to include many, many, many hardships, and He promises that through them all, He will work good in our lives. Our job is to pay attention and stay connected to Him. (Romans 8:28)
The key is to sink your roots into the truth of His Word. As we learn the Bible and meditate on its application, we become like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in season and do not wither. (Psalm 1:2-3) The winds, storms and scorching heat come, but the tree is sustained – and perseveres to grow.
Jesus also used the image of building your life/house on a solid foundation to illustrate the same point. (Matthew 7:24ff)
Adversities are going to blow through our lives. Rather than doing all we can to avoid them or get out of the way of the wind, we would do better to stay focused on God and His ways – allowing the wind to wear itself out and pass. God will make you stand like a tree or a solid house outlasting the storms – even the violent and long ones. The Holy Spirit will persevere through you. How do I know? Because this is what the Bible teaches, and the Spirit proves time and time again.
You and I need to fill our lives with God’s truth, so we can develop God’s perspectives on life. We need to understand how He uses adversity (Romans 5:3-6), so that we will not try to run away when we need to stand.
When difficulties blow through your life, don’t let your dominant thought be fixed on how to escape the gale. Instead, focus on God’s word, declare your ability to stand amidst the storm through the power of the Holy Spirit, and allow God to deepen and build you through the process. Most of your growth will come by learning to “Stand through” adversity.
~ Coach Tom
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