The word for this week is: “ADVERSITY”.
The thought for this week is: “Adversity in life builds a bridge to God.”
Where is God? Why me? Why has God allowed this to happen? Why has God left me to struggle with this? Does this sound familiar? All of us have uttered these words at some point in our life. There is nothing worse than feeling lonely or suffering because we feel like no one understands what we are going through. When things are going great, those around us gather around to join in our success and joy. But, when things are not going so great, everyone seems distant, even when they are trying to help. That is because they are unable to reach that place in our heart where our pain has made its home. All through scripture, particularly in the Psalms, we find that the Lord is always near even when we have a contrite spirit. We also learn that adversity is not a time when God is far from us, rather, it the time he is most near. When troubles arise, it seems God has our full attention and it is then when we are receptive to his teaching. It is only then that we learn that adversity builds those bridges that lead to a closer walk with God.
Read II Cor. 11:23-31. What exactly was it that Paul saw as validating his ministry? Why does Paul boast in his adversities and infirmities? Now read Phil. 3:3-11. What does Paul say about putting our confidence in earthly riches and honors? (7-8) What did Paul find in Christ that he was not able to find in his possessions? (9) When it came to faith, what did Paul discover? (10-11) Continue reading verses 12-21. What happens to those that do not share Paul’s focus but rather put their trust in earthly things? (17-19) What do adversities prepare us for? (20-21) Paul had everything that could define a successful life to the people of his day. He had everything that he needed to be right with God and a man of respect in his circle of influence. Yet, no matter how pious or perfect he was, it was never enough. It was not through his successes that he experienced God, it was through his sufferings and adversity. It was during those times that God worked profoundly in his life.
Close by reading II Cor. 4:5-16. What is the treasure we have as believers? (7) Why is it that God uses imperfect people to carry his gospel? (8-10) And, who benefits from our adversity? (15-16) The wisest response to our troubles is to surrender our will to God and grow in our relationship with him. Let us keep our focus on him and allow our adversities to build a bridge to God. Meditate and pray through the following scripture: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1:6-7)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we give you all the honor and glory. We thank you for providing treasures in heaven. We ask that you allow us to grow closer to you as we face the adversities of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rory Barneche