When Adversity Knocks
Some years ago, my extended family in Australia enjoyed a delightful holiday as we saw the New Year in together. During four action packed days of family fun and frolic, we exchanged Christmas gifts and returned with warmed hearts and a kalaidoscope of memories. My generous brother and sister in law presented us with a grating/slicing machine. I‘ve found it extremely handy over the past four and a half years. It’s a chef’s efficient able helper – also easy to clean and put away.
The other day, I grated a carrot as I pressed down on it, using the little plastic piece supplied. The carrot was grated beautifully. I wondered what would occur if I stopped putting any pressure on that carrot. So I took off my weighty hand and pressed the switch to turn on the blade. The blade whirred again and the carrot went round and round. But dear me, nothing more occurred. No grating. Only turning. Without the pressure, the carrot was content to go around for infinity like a non stop merry-go-round.
No pressure - no grated carrots. It was as simple as that. It caused me reflect on life and adversity. No pressure in life - no results. With no pressure of deadlines – much of our work might take longer to accomplish or even never be completed. With no pressure in a pressure cooker – the meat inside will remain as hard as a rhino’s taut muscles. If there is no pressure in my arteries, blood wouldn’t get carried to all the cells in my body.
Is pressure needed? Absolutely. Is adversity needed? I believe it is. The title of my blog is not “Why Adversity” but rather “When Adversity”. Note the difference? I do not pretend to know the answers to life’s why questions. Why does God permit innocent people to suffer? Why is a baby stillborn? Why is a good life cut short? The ‘why” question is one that’s way above my little head. Often God doesn’t reply when I ask Him why. And so I try not to ask it at all, living instead by Proverbs 3:5 and 6. Trusting that a Faithful Loving God knows best, especially because He’s proved it in my own life, many times over.
The When question is another matter. I do have lots of tried and tested answers to the When question. We all face inexplicably tough times, don’t we? Some more than others, it is true. Unfortunately, life has a way of dishing out plenty of unpalatable courses that are not on the main menu. The gladsome truth though is that we can make a drink out of lemons and sugar even if we didn’t ask for those particular ingredients. We might also amazingly enough, make a scrumptious lasagna out of potatoes or a yummy beef stew out of chicken and eggs. You never know! When Adversity arrives uninvited – there just might be a way of turning it into something wholesome.
When Adversity knocks, I can:
Use it to draw closer to the God who loves me
Find the right attitude to face up to the challenge
Understand riches of the spirit in ways I didn’t grasp before
Grow in character and grow in grace
Form deep, lasting bonds with those whom God brings my way
Learn to empathise with others through my own experiences
Bless those who suffer with the comfort I’ve received
Discover that adversity is a great teacher if I learn to be a good pupil
Discern that life can be beautiful even during the tough times
And while I am about it, I can Dance in the Rain
I confess that I don’t always meet adversity with a smile. It’s often a struggle to see the bright side when I’d rather whine or cry. But God’s shown me that life’s pressures are often treasures. They come like uninvited guests to interrupt my life. They don’t go away quickly either. But when I rise up to the challenge (with God’s ever present help), adversity changes from a tragedy to a gift. When I look for the blessing – I find it.
Has adversity stalked you this past year?
Would you like to create a delicious chicken stew out of beef and bacon?
Adversity's best gift to me has been that God's love and comfort have abounded.
May adversity bring you the richness of God's Presence.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3