The Purpose in Adversity

This morning I am wondering why I am attracted to adversity.  Am I crazy?  Do I see a challenge and think, Yes!  An opportunity to fail!  No. Even though I don’t think that is a horrible attitude.  I usually see adversity as a way to grow, change, get better, or have victory. Uh oh. Now that attitude can become dangerous.

Adversity will come in life whether or not we seek it out.  Know what I mean?  When adversity is made apparent to us, our God given response system kicks in.  You’ve heard this before.  We have two options: Fight or Flight.  My default is fight.  However, sometimes a very large or very foreign adversity pops up and I have to make a conscious effort to stay and fight.  

When I must choose to stay and fight, though my nature tells me otherwise, I find my goal in taking on adversity is different. I turn to God. I ask Him for help. Been there before? Sure. Even if you aren’t “religious” or “spiritual” or walking through life with the Lord, you have probably at least asked Him if he’s listening.  It’s okay you’re not to be scolded.  For me as a Christian, sometimes I find I’m not talking to God until I need His help.  For the record, its not the best way to talk to the Creator of the Universe, but let’s keep going on this thought of adversity.

So, the adversity is here.  The fight is here.  We’ve chosen to take it on.  Now read this story from my devotional, Devotions for Men on the Go, by Stephen Arterburn and Bill Farrel.  

 

A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were for her.  He took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water. In one pot he placed carrots, in another, eggs, and in the last, ground coffee beans.  He let them sit and boil.  

After a while he took the three elements in separate bowls. He explained each element had faced the same adversity.  Yet, each one reacted differently. 

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it became soft and weak (not good).

The egg went into the water fragile – its thin outer shell protecting the liquid inside. But after sitting in the boiling water, the insides hardened (Men, you catch this one? It’s us).

The ground coffee beans were different from the other two.  Instead of being changed by the boiling water, they change the water.

And here comes the zinger: Which one are you?

Adversity, no matter what size or how it comes at you, is not intended to change you.  As the lesson above shows, that will happen either way. It’s a natural byproduct of adversity. The purpose in our adversities is to change the things around us. Impact others. Get perspective and help someone around you.  

If you are looking for someone to study who exemplifies this attitude toward adversity, there are lots of options out there.  I would recommend studying Jesus.  He went through quite a bit (drastic understatement) of adversity and still managed to change the world (another drastic understatement). When I study Jesus, many times I see he is a winner.  And he shows me a way to win and impact others.  

Now it’s time for my morning coffee.

 

TJ

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