The Torrent of Adversity

Adversity is a difficult teacher and a powerful revealer of substance and belief!

Below is a paraphrase of Psalms 18. 

I love you, Lord, my strength. (Obviously the first inclination for this writer is to affirm their relational realities) The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold…(The next inclination is to affirm what they believe to be true)

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the snares of death confronted me. (The reality of adversity has to be stated – not avoided.) In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help…he heard my voice… (Finally, the reality of relational trust and faithfulness is experienced.)

(An excerpt is from the writer of Psalms 18)

Adversity is a difficult teacher, and I’ve never learned more from any other lessons.

No one is immune to it. Adversity, challenge and change come from two different places – they can come from within, based on the way you think, feel and behave. Or, they can come from outside of us. There is only one of these areas where we have control and the option of taking responsibility – and that is within. In the case of the circumstances that come from the outside – they are usually out of our hands. The only thing we do have control of here is how we choose to respond (another inside dynamic), to those out of our control circumstances.

The common experience with adversity is – when it happens – unbelief and fear attempt to take a higher place of attention and authority. 

No matter what our circumstance may be – Hurricane or personal failure – there is a foundational truth based out of relationship that must override the power of fear in all of us.

Relationships (are meant to) equal trust. Anything outside of trust is fear based. Meaning it is driven by brokenness, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, anger, lack, bitterness, un-forgiveness and the list goes on.

Fear hates you! The reason why it hates you is because it has an agenda to steal, kill and destroy. And, it is the antithesis of love. Love is less of an emotion and more of relational reality that has the power to reverse the tide. Love is for you! And, every time adversity, challenge and change come our way – we question whether love even exists. Whether life has dealt me another cruel hand. Whether the author of love even exists.

If you’ve had adversity or are in the midst of adversity – you may have found yourself asking ‘why’ questions. You may ask – Are you ‘for’ me or ‘against’ me? It’s only natural. We ask these questions of God.

This is why adversity is a reveal-er of substance and belief. This is why trust requires a commitment that goes beyond circumstances. And why – when centered on the One who loves us beyond our adversity, challenges or changes – can override the trouble.

Does your circumstance have the power to change your view of God? It may if need and circumstance are greater than the person of God. It certainly has the power to reveal your view of God.

If it can change it, you have to ask – What’s missing in me and in our love relationship that allows “this” to be greater than You (God)? 

What – in your love for me – is not fully understood?

Let’s review the 4 keys the writer above uses to guide us –

  • Affirm your relational realities (in some cases change them)
  • Affirm what you believe to be true (in some cases change them)
  • Adversity has to be acknowledged – not avoided (adversity leads to vulnerability – which is meant to lead to humility – which opens us up to grace encounters – and abiding love)
  • Relational trust and faithfulness is experienced (God is faithful.)

Trust is a relationship, not a transaction. Love is a person. Jesus is love and he is a person, not a program. While transactions ultimately demonstrate behavior, it reveals the value of the relationship. Trust is an expression of relational integrity. And, when we demonstrate trust – and all the circumstances around us contradicts a reason to do so – we express both trust and faith.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4:16

I’m not sure what torrent may be confronting you today, but take your leap – this too shall pass.