I have been reading Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. Today I read, “Every time God presents a significant opportunity, it’s formed in the crucible of crisis….To my way of thinking, adversity gets in the way of opportunity. But God doesn’t think like I think…instead of taking away our adversity, he develops our faith and demonstrates his strength by working through our adversity.”
Then I started thinking, “I don’t have a lot of adversity.” Not really, compared to so many others I know or have heard or read about. No developmentally challenged children, no cancer, no bankruptcy, no divorce. I have my adversity. Some may look at me and think, “Poor him.” Sometimes I do that. But relatively speaking, I’m doing pretty well, thank God.
And I don’t want adversity. I do a lot of stuff to avoid adversity. I exercise. I work. I try to maintain friendships. So, is there something not quite right about that? Should I be seeking out adversity so that Jesus can work more significantly through my life? That is definitely not right.
Furtick says a little later, “Adversity is inevitable.” So my and everyone elses’ time is coming, through no effort of our own. I, too, will have the opportunity to let Jesus shine brightly in my life as he navigates me through crisis…if I let Him…and don’t bail out and blame Him for everything.
Often, my life of relative comfort seems boring, limp, pasty and insignificant. I think if I did more of the things I often sense the Holy Spirit nudging me toward, I would have more adversity…but also feel more alive, more engaged. More adventure.
One of my favorite Bible verses says to seek God first and everything else we need will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). Not seek adversity. And not seek comfort at all cost. But seek Him.
As I seek to obey God, I may experience adversity in the form of sacrifice. Giving my hard-earned money to those who need it more than I. Giving my time to help others when I could be doing something to help me. Rejection by those who reject Jesus.
But, also, as I seek to obey God, I will experience blessing. The joy of seeing how my actions help someone else. The grace of accepting someone’s gift of appreciation.
So it’s not a matter of seeking adversity or seeking comfort but, rather, seeking and doing God’s will, and praising Him in the midst of whatever adversity or blessing comes along.
Life is adversity AND blessing. We cannot forever avoid either.