The Training Of Adversity

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All of us have heard the name Joni Eareckson Tada. She, without a doubt, knows adversity. Many years ago, she dove into a lake and she broke her neck. When she resurfaced, she had to be pulled from the water and since then, she has had no feeling or movement in her arms and or in her legs. Not long after the accident, she asked a question that all of us have pondered when going through great difficulty or some tragedy. She asked, “What possible good can come out of what I am now going through?” She also asked, “Lord, why me?” Now eventually God gave her the answer to her difficulty and her adversity and she wrote these words: ‘The suffering and pain have helped me mature emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Pain and suffering have purpose. I believe God was working in my life to create grace and wisdom out of the chaos of pain and depression. You know, one of the primary reasons God allows us to go through difficulty is to train us in obedience. It is true of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Hebrews 5 in verse 8, it says: “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” In fact, there are many things that we would never learn about God or ourselves apart from affliction. It is through times of affliction and adversity that people learn the truthfulness of God’s Word, the value of prayer and the comfort of praise. It is often due to the sudden death of an unsaved loved one or some near-death experience that we understand the brevity of life and the value of a soul. At that time, we often become a witness for Jesus Christ. It is often during a time of financial difficulty or some physical illness that we learn that God can be trusted and that God can be known. It is when we find ourselves reaping what we have sown and paying for our rebellious and fleshly living that we understand God is serious and disobedience does not pay. You see, adversity trains us in obedience. It teaches us things that we need to know about ourselves and things that we need to know about God. Towards the end of his life, the British broadcaster and Christian apologist, Malcolm Muggeridge, wrote in his book, ‘A Twentieth Century Testimony’, these words. He said: “I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness.” You see, adversity brings us to the end of ourselves. It drives us to God and allows God to train us and to teach us things that we would otherwise never learn. It was the old puritan, Thomas Watson, who said: ‘A sick bed often teaches more than a sermon.’ Because you see, adversity produces training in obedience. And maybe that is what God is teaching you. And my prayer for you is this: may the Spirit of God take the Word of God and may God richly and wonderfully bless you today.