Which Way Lord? Facing Adversity
How do you face adversity? Those moments find every one of us. Sometimes it is a brief encounter and at other times, adversity stays for a season. Often we feel tested, sometimes to the very limit of our being. It is so often in our times of hardship that we search more eagerly for God’s help and presence, especially when we feel that we have completely run out of our own strength. I certainly have had times that drove me to my knees in prayer, trying to understand what God wants me to do and feeling that my own resources have run out. As we continue to follow the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul we find he runs into adverse situations, where preaching the gospel and starting new churches creates a reaction of hostility that leaves him under attack, in jail, or perhaps wondering about pursuing God’s purpose or giving up. Paul reached the point where he understood that persecution was going to be a common reaction to the message of the gospel. He didn’t expect to always find a receptive hearing, but he wanted to be faithful to God’s call to share his faith.
We can admire that depth of commitment. Paul always traveled with others and even in his hardest times he was not alone, but in the company of faithful people who could encourage one another. Barnabas, who traveled with him and had been a mentor had been nicknamed, “the son of encouragement.” We all need to find a Barnabas who gives us honest and hopeful encouragement in our dark times. Paul also could see how God was working, even when he found himself under attack. He could see how faith was taking hold. He could see how God was at work in the lives of new believers. Paul could see and sense how the message of Jesus Christ was speaking to the difficulties in people’s lives and helping them to become faithful to God in new ways. Maybe that is our prayer in our own times of adversity: that we can see how God is at work around us, that we could be renewed by seeing and noticing how God is with us, even in the presence of such difficulties.
Sunday we worship and meet God who is with us in times of joy and heartache, whose love for us is stronger than adversity we might face.
Dave Summers, PhD
602-840-8360 Ext 131
P.S. You’re invited to a church-wide Lenten study group. It’s a good way to go deeper into the season and discuss the worship themes with others. A limited number of books are available in the church office or you may purchase an ebook. Read more about the studies and discern where God is leading you.
Buy a book. Which Way Lord? by Robert Fuquay costs $6. Renovate, which the Young Adults began following February 11, on Sundays at 12:30 pm in G2, costs $10. Look for the list of the small groups following each study in the Looking Ahead. We’ll have a list of all the groups who will participate in each study included in Sunday’s Looking Ahead.