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Pointers along the way #640

How do we face adversity?

- Jacob Ninan

When God chose Saul to be the king of Israel, Saul did not think he was qualified for it (1Sa.9:21). He had such a poor self-esteem that he hid himself when people were wanting to crown him (1Sa.10:21,22). From our understanding of human nature we can assume that he may had a bad experience growing up, without much acceptance or affection coming from his parents, and maybe even facing some abuse. This showed up later in his marriage too, when he referred to his wife as a 'perverse and rebellious woman' (1Sa.20:30). His wrong attitude towards his son also shows up in the same verse.

On the other hand, we find another man, David, who was sidelined by his father who favoured his other children more (1Sa.16:10,11). But while David was forced to spend lots of lonely time with the sheep, he learned to draw near to God and worship Him. Joseph suffered a lot during thirteen years after his brothers sold him as a slave, but during that time he learned to trust in God and learn about His ways (Ge.50:19,20).

Adversities come to all of us, some getting more of them than others. When we face them we have the choice between sulking about them, getting angry with God and turning away from Him, and seeking God especially at that time and learning from Him. God takes no delight at all seeing His children or even wicked people suffer (Ez.18:23). God's ultimate purpose in allowing us to face adversities is to mould us a little more into the likeness of His Son (Ro.8:28,29). In other words, it is through facing difficult situations in the right way that we get opportunities to become more like Jesus.

It is when we are in situations that defy our faith in God and we still hold on to our confidence in Him that our faith becomes stronger. It is when we have to deal with 'impossible' people that we can acquire patience! We don't find it difficult to love those who are good to us. But when we learn to be good even to people who hurt us, that is how we grow in love and become more like God (Lk.6:35,36).

On the contrary, if we choose to sulk, question God's love, become bitter, complain to everyone around us, etc., how can God fulfil His promise of working out things for our good? It is certainly not God's fault, but we are the ones who choose to remain in bondage to sin and end up being more ungodly than before.

It is wrong and irresponsible for us to think that irrespective of what we choose, what we do, or what we think, God will still make us like Jesus! If this were so, then it would be God who fails when some people go to hell or some others never come to enjoy the abundant life that Jesus promises (Jn.10:10)! Then God would have no right to punish anyone, but He should face judgment Himself! How ridiculous!

Let's make the right choices in responding to life's situations, according to God's instructions in His word. Let's resist this tendency to wriggle out of our responsibilities and pass them to someone else, even God.


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