In the School of Affliction

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7 NIV

An old Chinese proverb says that a “diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials.”

Cripple a man and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Raise him in abject poverty and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Deafen a genius composer and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Lock him in a prison cell, subject him to racial discrimination, and you have a Nelson Mandela. Call him a slow learner, “retarded,” and write him off as ineducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.

As William Shakespeare so aptly says, “sweet are the uses of adversity.”

But recognizing the positive side of adversity is not enough. It doesn’t help when you’re struggling in tanks of particular and inescapable circumstances. And it doesn’t help you in life’s crucible of pain and tension.

So what can you do when adversity strikes? What can you do when affliction lays you low? And what can you do when adventure turns to disaster? God’s Word provides a number of practical suggestions.

Firstly, handle adversity with prayer. Never forget that prayer is “powerful and effective” James 5:16. It’s your anchor in the heart of a storm and your stability in the midst of a squall. Thus when your burdens seem great, remember this: “Daily prayers lessen, daily cares.”

Secondly, handle adversity by trusting in God’s provision. In 1 Peter 5:7 we read; “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Adversity will be overcome when you stop trusting in yourself and start trusting in God. Instead of being fretful and frustrated, turn to God in simple faith. For faith is your pipeline to the Great Provider – your conduit to the riches of God’s resources.

Thirdly, handle adversity with God’s promises. Adoniram Judson said that “the prospect is as bright as the promises of God.” Why? Because of the character of God. He is always faithful and always trustworthy. He has never failed to honour His promises in the past, and will never fail to honour His promises in the future. So turn to the Bible and discover how God’s Word meets your every need. For “… he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world …” 2 Peter 1:4.

Finally, handle adversity with patience. Someone once said that “storms make oaks take deeper root.” The truth of the matter is that without adversity you would be insipid, weak-willed, and good for nothing. You would be spineless, pathetic and hopeless. So be patient through hardships and learn how “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us …” Romans 5:3-5.

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