The dictionary defines adversity as “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune”.
It could be an ongoing health issue, trouble in your marriage or with another relationship, opposition in your work, financial hardship, or any number of other struggles.
Right now I know people who are facing each of these situations. Maybe you are deep in the mire of adversity as well. There are a variety of ways to respond when met with these difficulties. We will all have trials in our lives. It is part of living in a fallen world.
What do you do when troubles come?
One of the healthiest ways to handle adversity is to stand firm and face things head on. But people don’t always react in a healthy way to difficulties.
There are those who become paralyzed with fear and insecurity and feel completely unable to do anything.
Some people deal with adversity by denying their circumstances. “Not me, not this, not now” they say to themselves.
Others get upset or angry and take it out on their loved ones and friends, sometimes without even realizing it. They blame others for their state of unhappiness.
Still others jump in and try to control or “fix it”. They try to find the newest treatment, a new job or the best marriage counselor.
What do I do when troubles come?
Right or wrong, sometimes I deal with distress and difficulty in one or more of the ways I listed above. But if I’m being honest, I usually run…to the kitchen. I search for comfort in the form of food. Mac & Cheese, popcorn, Nutella, or my all-time favorite – ice cream.
It’s not healthy, I know, but food has been my first source of comfort when I feel afraid or hurt or overwhelmed. It has been my go-to from problems and stress all of my life.
Maybe food isn’t your way of coping with the anxiety that often accompanies trouble. Maybe you seek relief through exercise, sleep, binge-watching tv, medication, shopping, or complaining about your problems to your friends.
These actions can postpone having to face your circumstances, but eventually you circle around to the same issues.
Why must we experience adversity?
But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. Job 36:15 NLT
Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Isaiah 30:20 NLT
…to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 2 Corinthians 12:7
So God may use difficulties in our lives to get our attention or teach us something. He may even use our hardship as a way of making us humble.
How does the Bible say we should we react when faced with adversity?
– Don’t be surprised
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12 NLT
– Be hopeful, patient, and prayerful
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12 NLT
– Look to God for protection, strength and help
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalms 46:1 NLT
– See trouble as an opportunity
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2 NLT
– Know that the Lord will rescue us
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalms 34:19 NLT
Whatever adversity you are facing today, friend, know that God is with you, ready to help. Instead of reacting in an unhealthy way, go to God and pray that He would teach you, humble you, strengthen and protect you. He will do it.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
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