The Gift in Adversity
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2&3 I often reminisce on my family history. So much of what we encounter in our daily lives roots back to our childhood experiences. (See Paul Hegstrom's book Broken Children, Grown-Up Pain.) But when I think of what happened then, I no longer see it as something I just want to forget. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't fun, and I still deal with the consequences of some of what happened then. But instead of feeling the dread I used to feel, I am filled with gratitude that God allowed me to be in such a place so that I would need to depend on Him more, and that I would know Him as my Heavenly Father. In place of the pain and hurt, He has placed an amazing amount of joy. It's really true that God give us "the oil of joy for mourning." (Isaiah 61:3) It's difficult to see adverse situations as blessings. It has taken a lot of time, a lot of seeking, a lot of healing, and a lot of restoration, but God did an incredible work and restored what was broken in my life as I continued to seek after Him. The joy of knowing Christ and experiencing His peace, love and joy in spite of circumstances is better than any diamond, ruby or emerald on this earth, or any comfort we might enjoy. If you've never been through adversity, you'll never know how valuable it is to be without it. And, you'll never know the blessing of the depth of God experiences we need in order to get us through those tough times. Someone once told my dad, "God must love you a lot. He does not allow such difficult experiences into a life that He does not plan to use greatly." Have you discovered the gift in adversity?