The Arms of Adversity

Written by Greg Benner 06-18-1998

Chasing Our Tails...

Does adversity lead us to God, or does God lead us by way of adversity? Spanning the centuries, theologians have pondered this timeless question, only to find that their trail ends where it once began. Yet, one must wonder if human intellect has missed God's mark by becoming so deeply engrossed in this question, that it can no longer recognize or hear His still small voice. This possibility implies, that individual believers should consider adversity from God's point of view, thereby allowing each ardent traveler to glean threads of divine wisdom from the fabric of life's difficulties. Human history testifies that God builds His character, inspires His faith, and portrays His image of Christ in the lives of His children through adversity. 

Setting The Stage

At the opening act, one finds God building His character into the lives of everyday people through adversity's storms. Buffeted by the winds of God's Spirit, mankind takes on God's rich payload of character while bombarded by the waves of His refining love on the seas of adversity. An eternal bill of lading is signed in personal surrender as God graciously stows His priceless cargo into the galleys of men's hearts through intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This truth emerged as Jesus taught unruly fishermen the worth of obedience as He bid them to cast their empty nets on their boat's other side. Later, on the heels of His nap in the boat's bow, Jesus drowned their fear as He restored peace by commanding His sea to be still. And finally, to His onlookers surprise, Jesus put feet to men's faith while standing on the waters of human history as he called Peter out of his boat, just to build character. 

Parting the curtain on act two, history's cast proclaims that God inspires His faith in the lives of His children through the trials of adversity. For instance, in faith, Noah stood firm in the midst of ridicule while he built a great boat on top of a high mountain in response to God's leading. Likewise, in faith, Abraham obediently surrendered his son Isaac upon a wilderness alter before God provided a ram. Next, while surrounded by Baal's prophets, Elijah raised his hands in faith calling down God's fire from heaven to consume a water-soaked alter. Later, in death's grip while inspired by faith, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked courageously into the flames of a fiery furnace emerging unscathed. Yes, the chronicles of time confirm again and again that adversity fuels the flames of an eternal forge in which God molds His children into Christ-likeness. 

Raising the final curtain, God portrays His image of Christ through the lives of His children on the easel of adversity. Mobilized by human surrender, God patiently brushes His heart attitudes into the lives of those yielding to Him. Consequently, God entrusts the heart passions of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to common people as stewards of His cause. Remember, God's character traits are not exclusive to Christ alone, but surface in the lives of believers as clear reflections of God Himself. Pursuing yet unknown Christ-likeness, Joseph chose to ask God what he needed to learn when falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, rather than defending his own reputation. Emerging on another corner of God's portrait of humanity, a ruddy young shepherd named David gained God's victory through a sling and a stone. Then, turning the next page, while others stoned him unmercifully, Stephen whispered, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" as he died (Acts 7:60 NIV). 

Closing Act

As we gaze on the last scene...leaping from the pages of God's eternal script onto the stage of Colonial history, liberty's voice paints divine purpose onto the canvas of American patriotism. Faced by oppression, Patrick Henry confronted adversity while speaking these noble words, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Ironically, it was adversity's embrace which incited his passionate cry of courage. Yet, one must realize that ability to overcome the impossible flows only from the hand of God. Therefore, forever crystallized in time, this eternal gem glistens with God's love as Christ stretched wide His redemptive arms at Calvary while a sinful world nailed its only hope, to a cross. During this pivotal scene, a Jewish carpenter built upon God's character, inspired by God's faith, and portraying God's image of salvation to a dying world, hung and died! Now, before history's last act in the shadows of Christ's selfless drama, this question remains. Will we rise victorious through adversity's embrace?


Copyright / BattleCry Ministries - Greg Benner 1998 / All rights reserved worldwide.  These materials shall not be used or distributed without written permission. 


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