Blake Allen, Dunbar Cave Campus Pastor, LHBC
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
One of the most treasured pieces in the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont, is a rug bearing the Latin inscription Nec Aspera Terrent (Be Not Terrified by Adversity). It always has had special meaning for the famous Trapp Family Singers because the rug, a gift from a friend, arrived on December 21, 1980, a day after a fire razed the famous lodge, killing a guest and injuring seven others.
It took three years and $7 million to rebuild the lodge, but the Trapps never had any doubts about rebuilding. To battle adversity was nothing new to them. The family fled Austria in 1938 rather than submitting to orders to return to the German Navy. On arrival in the United States, the family had only $3.50. When work on their first Vermont lodge was nearing completion, the structure was destroyed by a storm, so they started all over with a second lodge—the one that burned down in 1980.
On December 18, 1983, the day the successor to the burned-down lodge opened, Johannes von Trapp recalled that, when the rug arrived right after the fire, he had decided it would be prominently placed in the lobby of the new hotel. The family faced adversity, embraced adversity, and even decorated with it. Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. But what we can control is how we react to it. Are you in a season of adversity?
Here are 3 things we should do when faced with adversity:
You are stronger than you think. And even with our shortcomings and weaknesses, we have the God of the universe on our side. He told us in the Great Commission that, “I am with you always to the end of the age.” He has never left our side. So the first step to take in suffering or undesirable circumstances is to trust that He is with you now!
Second, if you are going to build your spiritual endurance, then you must exercise. Faith is an exercise. It requires you to work out what has been worked in to your heart (the gospel). And if we are going to build our endurance, then you must exercise your spiritual muscles through prayer, God’s word, fellowship, accountability, serving, sharing your faith, etc.
You can’t gain spiritual gains with exercising your faith. When adversity brings pressure, you will only be able to lift what your spiritual muscles have been prepared to lift. God is always available to step in and spot us, but He also calls us to grow in our faith. Do you have a regemin of spiritual growth? What does your devotional time look like?
When you encounter suffering, we need to remain steadfast. This requires us to trust God and hold fast to Him. No matter what we encounter, we can trust God. In loss, death, suffering, pain, etc., we can trust that God sees our sufferings and is already working out His plan. We must have patience and faith. We should respond instead of reacting. To often, we react harshly, rashly, quickly, and angrily to situations we encounter. But God’s word teaches us to be slow to anger, slow to respond, and quick to listen. The outcome will be far better when you respond slowly.
By remaining steadfast, you are training yourself to be vigilant in times of adversity. Your adversity either can destroy your character or build your character. Your character proves genuine in times of adversity. This is why Paul says perseverance produces character. Who I am is very much related to what I do and how I respond to things. This can be seen overtime through the patterns of our life. What does your responses say about your character?
Adversity is seasonal and has an expiration date. Hopefully the same will not be said about our faith. Paul says, “proven character produces hope.” In other words, my ability to trust and endure suffering shapes who I am and how I respond. And who I am and how I respond proves whether or not I have thrown in the towel or if I have faith that there is a better tomorrow.
There is great hope for us in Jesus’s name. Help is on the way in Jesus’s name. There are better days to look forward to. David says it best in Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, give us the ability by the power of the Spirit to endure, remain steadfast, and remain hopeful in all circumstances of life. In Jesus name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Job 37:5- God thunders wondrously with his voice;
He does great things that we cannot comprehend.