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0107 PD: Adversity Is My Teacher

Yevet Tenney Published on 10 January 2007

With the holidays behind me and the hope of a new year before me, I sit in the clutter of the old year’s passing and look forward to a brighter year. Not that last year was a bad year. In fact, last year was a wonderful year full of blessings and miracles that could have only come from a loving Father in Heaven who knows the plight of every sparrow and delights in the lilies of the field.

I have come to know that He knows me personally and is concerned with my little corner of the globe.

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Yes, I have had my share of adversity. My computer took a dump, and our septic clogged to the point we had to replace it with money we planned to use to fix the roof. Our two vans were wrecked, and we finally had to buy a new one. Our roof and ceiling flooded from a torrential rain and trashed the sheetrock we had paid to have installed. I had purchased new wallpaper, but we couldn’t install it after the rain, so it is sitting in the box waiting for a rainy day ... well maybe a sunny day.

So where was the good in all this adversity?

Reg, my husband, has been building the house around us for the last 14 years. This summer he put the final addition on the house. It is an upper room that we will use as a formal family meeting room. We plan to have a baby grand piano and nice plush furniture and chandeliers. He started on the room and had three walls of the gazebo-shaped room standing with the particle board siding attached ready to connect the rest of the walls when a windstorm picked up the three walls, spun them in the air and dropped them beside the house.

By all rights, the wall should have crashed through the window and broke the walls on the side of the house. It did break the window, shattered the glass into a million tiny squares, but not one piece of glass fell into the house, and the wall was spared. Not one brick or piece of wood was damaged. The miracle became apparent as we surveyed the situation. I had been sitting in the chair by the window when the wall came down. If the wall had come through the window, I would have been crushed. My prayers and the prayers of my family and friends saved my life.

Adversity? Yes! But I am glad for adversity because it allows me to see the hand of God in my life.

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I often think of my two heroes Joseph who was sold into Egypt and Job who weathered the storms Satan placed before him. Both men traveled through adversity I can’t even fathom and came to love and trust God infinitely.

Joseph was a favored child who grew up in gentle circumstances. His parents doted on him. Of course, his life would have been difficult compared to ours, but back then everyone was in the same situation. In his youth, Joseph had witnesses from God that he had a great mission to perform and that his family would fall at his feet and pay homage to him. Joseph served God, and by rights he should have prospered without adversity, but God knew Joseph’s mettle had to be tested and refined.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, who should have loved him and cared for him. They even wanted to kill him. In Egypt, Joseph prospered for a time, but then was wrongfully accused of immorality by Potiphar’s wife.

If righteous people never suffer, Joseph should have been spared the prison sentence. But for years he was doomed to spend his days in prison. Did Joseph whine and complain to God about his injustice? No!

Joseph set about helping the other prisoners, until the prison guard noticed his loyalty and put him in charge of all the other prisoners. Joseph expects some consideration from the chief butler for interpreting his dream, but the butler forgets, leaving Joseph in prison. Finally Joseph is set free, and his life changes overnight. He becomes what he should have been all along. He has the respect of Pharaoh, becomes second-in-command and has all the honor of Egypt. When his brothers come, he frankly forgives them and says basically, “You didn’t send me into Egypt – God did.”

It is clear Joseph understands God doesn’t balance the books every evening. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to gain the rewards of a righteous life. On the same token, sometimes it takes a lifetime for an evil person to reap the rewards of their sordid practices. Just as sure as the sun rises in the morning and makes its path across the sky to sunset, God will reward all souls according to their desires for goodness and their labors of love.

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It’s the law of the harvest. What you plant, you will reap. You can’t plant nightshade and expect to harvest roses.

Job was happily living a life of prosperity with his wife and family. In one evening, his entire world was turned upside down. All of his family members were killed and his flocks were destroyed. If that wasn’t enough, as time passed his body was racked with boils and disease. I had one uncomfortable boil in my life; I thought I was going to die. Job’s body was covered with them. His friends came to tell him of his wickedness and tried to get him to deny his God, but Job simply said of his terrible losses, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”

As he suffered the terrible injustice of his afflictions and disease, he simply said, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19: 25-26).

Job didn’t blame his problems on someone else. He didn’t curse the government, his upbringing or his God. He accepted his plight as a little child who trusts a loving father. His reward was magnificent.

The Lord came to him. Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that thou canst do everything and that no thought can be with holden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42: 2-5).

The Lord became Job’s dearest friend, and the Lord replaced all that he had lost. Job ended his life in peace. Again, the Lord doesn’t balance His books every night, but He will not forget those who have become His friend.

Adversity is a teacher that is often ignored in our modern society. We are so busy looking for reasons why we have to suffer, that we don’t see the lessons God wants to teach us. Our journey through our refiner’s fire is designed to purge us from selfishness and pride. Adversity gives us an opportunity to turn our lives over to a loving Father who will teach us how to bear our sorrows with dignity and humility. He will teach us how to rise above the cares of the world and truly live in the kingdom He prepared for us.

Every person born on this earth has a mission to perform. Joseph’s was to save two nations (Egypt and Israel) from famine. Job’s mission was to pass a story of faith, loyalty and humility down through the ages for us to read and to inspire others.

Washington was born to bring America through a revolution to freedom. Lincoln was born to keep a Union together during a civil war. Patton was born to help win a world war. Great men of all ages have written their names in the sands of time. They traveled through a refining process and came out the victor.

I often wonder what my mission is. What was I born to accomplish? What will be the legacy I will leave to those who come behind? I hope that I will pass though my refiner’s fire with humility and trust in my God to carry me through.

Life is a journey that passes one minute at a time. We only have to point ourselves in the right direction and keep on the path and God will take us there. He knows our mission, and He will reveal it one step at a time. Let this new year be a beginning. PD

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