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From the Mountain for week of June 7, 2012e

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By Bea Wallen

Learning how to deal with adversity

Trouble comes with a multitude of names- accidents, afflictions, bereavement, disasters, failures, hard times, sufferings, tragedies, tribulations and woes of all kind. They come sometimes unexpectedly and sometimes after repeated warnings.
Sometimes God allows, or even sends adversity to come into our lives because of our disobedience and evil ways as stated in Deuteronomy 28:20, “The Lord himself will send against you curses, confusion, and disillusionment in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and forsaking me.” Hasea 4:9 - - “So now I will punish both priests and people for all their wicked deeds.”
Troubles do often “just happen” because we live in a sinful world, and God usually allows the cycle of sin to play itself out (for now). But just as a loving parent brings adversity into the life of a child through discipline, God may also bring difficulties into our lives to strengthen and prepare us for life ahead. God’s discipline proves His love for us as stated in Hebrews 12. God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. We can accept the Lord’s discipline as obedient children grateful for a heavenly father who cares for us, or we can resent it like rebellious teenagers, convinced that we don’t deserve or need his advice. Psalm 32:8 says “Therefore let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they many not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.”
There are times when Satan sends adversity to try to get us to sin and turn away from God. And 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. As long as we live in this present world, we can be certain that troubles and adversities will come. The issue is what we will do with adversity when it comes.
Hebrews 12:6 reminds us that God shows he loves us when he is trying to correct us. However, adversity does not always come as punishment. In these cases when it comes through no fault of our own, we find ourselves asking why. Why didn’t God stop the train or car that crashed? Why didn’t God halt the tornado or flood? Why didn’t God redirect the forest fire to keep it from burning so many homes? Now we have walked into the mystery of His sovereignty. The simple answer is we don’t know why. But we know who God is, and what his nature is, so we must trust that whatever he does or permits to be done, no matter how it appears to us temporarily, ultimately there has to be a purpose for it. Lamentations 3:31-33 tells us, For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though he bring grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow (NLT).
Our God does not enjoy inflicting us with pain or grief. We must remember why God created us- out of love and a desire to have a relationship with us. Sometimes he has to use means of discipline to get our attention back to him. We must remember why Jesus died for us- out of love and a desire to see us avoid eternal punishment. We must remember what Jesus is doing for us in heaven. He is preparing a place for us so that we can live with him forever in peace and joy.
Ultimately the key to dealing with adversity rests on our relationship with God and our Christian fellowship with other believers. The most significant question of all is not “Why didn’t God prevent adversity?” but “Will I stay close to him and his people so then can help me through adversity when it come?”
Great joy is our reward when we pass through the fiery test of adversity with our faith intact (James 1:2-3).
Lamentations 3:25-27 reminds us: The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline.
From my heart.