Do you know the benefit of adversity?

Adversity.  No one asks for it, but it comes to everybody.  Do you see adversity as a friend or foe?

I hate to run, but I do it anyway and God seems to teach me a lot while I do it.

Today, as I ran down our gravel road, a cold rain began to fall.  My first words were “Oh crap!”  My Second set of words were “Come on rain.  Give me your worst!”

What happened?

Well, the first response is pretty normal, right?  Who wants to run in the rain?  Who welcomes adversity when it shows up?  Who says, “Thanks for coming, Trouble”?

No one.

We like life easy.  We want life to be trouble-free.  We like convenient.

Guess what?  Nothing worth having is convenient.

It will not be convenient to develop a strong marriage.

It will not be convenient to grow deeper with God.

It will not be convenient to lose twenty pounds.

It will not be convenient and adversity will be necessary.

You see, between my “Oh crap, it’s raining” and my “Come on rain” an idea flashed across my mind.

Adversity is not an adversary.  Adversity is an ally.

When trouble shows up, we look at it like something that is in our way.  It is an opponent that is hindering us.  Certainly, that can be true, but what is always true is that adversity is a means to our destination.

Despite the course that most of us chart, the primary goal of our life is not easy living.  Our aim is to resemble Jesus and walk with him.

Adversity is not an obstacle in that pursuit.  It is a help.

Why does James 1:2-4  challenge us to count it pure joy when we face trials?  Because adversity makes us better.

There is no growth without struggle.

I cannot get in better shape without the struggle of the gravel road.

I cannot have better relationships without the struggle of working through garbage with other people.

I cannot experience a better walk with Jesus without the struggle of exposing my sin to his truth and letting him change me.

As I have mentioned before, I like to run obstacle course races like the Spartan Race and Warrior Dash.  I have a few reasons for running these races, but one of the most important is that it forces me to suffer and that makes me better.

I get better physically through hard training and competition.

I get better mentally by learning to press past my limits.

I get better spiritually by seeking God for his help and strength.

Now, I realize that most adversity just finds us.  That’s life, right?  And, there are many forms of adversity that we would never invite or welcome.  No one signs up for chronic illness, abuse, or the loss of a loved one.  We never ask for those things nor want those things.  Yet, God will gladly use those forms of adversity too.  I wrote more about one way that he does that here.

Whether it is adversity that finds us or it is the adversity that we choose, it’s all a struggle and you have to decide what to do with it.

Will it be friend or foe?  Will it do it’s work to grow you or destroy you?

You choose.

“Come on rain…”

 

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