Adversity , also referred to as tribulation, is a condition of suffering, destitution, misfortune, an enemy or someone through whom our adversary Satan works, designed to frustrate your purpose. Contrary to some beliefs that adversity is such a bad thing, and you are faced with it as a form of punishment for your sins, the truth is, you and I were born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17b) Born for it that we may withstand or overcome it and in turn help someone else through it. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Adversity signals the end of one season of your life and it's a sign that you are transitioning into your next. There is a prize set before you but the adversary sees that you are reaching for it and tries to prevent you from reaching your destiny.
While adversity gives us no warning of its impending and often times relentless jabs upon our physical, mental and spiritual being, it is best that you glory in it when it comes. Does it pick on any one particular race or color of people? Not at all! It is not limited to one specific age group, ethnic group, nationality or class of people. The fact of the matter, it will come, whether you are black or white; African, American, Asian, Chinese or West Indian. It stalks you until it releases its attack whether you are upper, middle or lower class; gay, straight or lesbian; justified or unjustified; and, from God's perspective, adversity is permissible throughout our lifetime.
I came to that reality just yesterday. The day got off to a rough start. Matter of fact it had been like that for the last six days. I arrived to work earlier than normal and for the most part kept the momentum that I had arrived to work with. Hard as I tried, a different picture emerged to the point where I felt rather than pulling out my hair, just lock myself into a room and let out a scream as loud as I could get it. But by the end of my workday when the final test of adversity came, I was confident. There was no doubt in my mind that I had withstood the test and it was also clear to me of the divine and eternal purpose for which it came.
PURPOSES OF SUFFERING:
Scripture offers a number of reasons for suffering and for adversity. Here are a few of them.
- To produce spiritual fruits. If we allow suffering to accomplish its purpose, it can bring forth patience (Heb.10:36; James 1:3) joy (Psalm 30:5b, 126:6); knowledge (Psalm 94:12) and spiritual maturity and strength (1 Peter 5:10)
- To Silence the Devil. Satan once accused Job of merely serving God and went after the material blessings involved. God allowed the Devil to torment Job and through that adversity and suffering Job lost everything. Job withstood the test and proved that he loved God purely because of who He is and not for what he can get from God. (Job 1:9-12; 2: 3-7)
- To glorify God. (John 9:1-3; 11:1-4)
- To make us more like Jesus. (Phil.3:10) That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death.
- To teach us dependence on Him. This is brought out by both Christ (John 15:4) and by the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9) My grace is sufficient for you, and my power is made perfect in weakness.
- To refine us/our lives. (Psalm 66:10-12; Prov.17:3; 1 Peter 1:6-7). Every once in a while our faith will be tested and tried. We will go through the fire but we must remain faithful to God at whatever cost.
- To enlarge our ministry toward others and be a witness of the omnipotence of God to deliver us from the jaws of adversity. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-7) Not only that, it has been observed that he who has suffered much speaks many languages (ie understands others and the cause for which they suffer)