Adversity is inevitable. Adversity stinks. Adversity is good. In some way, shape, or form, these are all parts of Christian doctrine. I can’t think of one person in the Bible that didn’t face adversity. Moses fled Egypt after killing someone, had to face down Pharaoh, and wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land. Jeremiah was thrown down a well. Jonah sat under a plant and wished he was dead. David cried out when his enemies were getting the better of him and had to endure major dysfunctionality among his children. Jesus sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane when facing the prospect of the cross. Paul was thrown in jail and beaten. It makes me wonder, what life have we, as Christians, signed up for? The truth is, adversity happens to everyone (adversity is inevitable), regardless of their faith. It is the result of living in a sinful world (adversity stinks) and wasn’t part of the original plan. Yet it is also true that Christians can expect a special kind of adversity – an attempt by the powers of the world to quiet us and stomp out our faith. There is a spiritual battle raging around us, and we have to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6) for protection. But most of all, we have a choice. What defines the heroes of the Bible is that, in adversity, they drew closer to God rather than pulling away. Granted, their prayers were sometimes raw and angry, but they still prayed with a faith that didn’t give up on God’s ability to use adversity for good.
If we can hold on to God through adversity, Satan’s plan is defeated, and the kingdom of God is nearer. It was in adversity that the heroes of the Bible often had their greatest triumphs. So, what’s the secret? Never stop praying. Prayer has nothing to do with picking the right words. It has everything to do with being honest with yourself and with God. And next time, maybe not only pray for circumstances, but pray that God changes you to be more like Him.
Associate Pastor Emeritus, Greg Zehner