Monday, March 14, 2016

The Purpose of Adversity

UV 1698/10000 The Purpose of Adversity
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Psalm 50 v 15

The Lord does not promise that we will not have troubles but that He would be with us in the day of trouble. He will deliver us and redeem us. This He promises to everyone who believes. Some are delivered from great trouble and then they believe. I just saw a video of a US explosive defusing team leader whose both arms and legs were blown off in a landmine blast. But he recovers, learns to use artificial limbs and overcomes his troubles. I remember the time when I was injured in a blast, temporarily incapacitated but mercifully did not loose anything permanently except part of a nail. Though at the time it was extremely painful, I can now glorify the Lord on account of His great deliverance. In our most painful moments we tend to give undivided attention to the voice of the Lord where otherwise we would be distracted by far too many voices and stimuli. The etches of our character and soul are deepened and completed in such moments of adversity. The patience and faith of Job was not shaped when everything was going well with him and he was prosperous. His faith that “ My Redeemer lives” was born out of his many troubles that came one after another- disaster, financial loss, bereavement, isolation, disease. One secret that I learnt from my own life’s troubles is that the sooner we completely yield and surrender all to the Lord, the shorter He makes the crash course in adversity.

Deliverance from our troubles is not automatically triggered but we need to call upon Him in the midst of it. He will then manifest His grace and bring us out of those difficulties. Our faith would be strengthened. Our belief in a living and responsive God would be affirmed. Our personal relationship with Him would be deepened even as we remember fondly those who stand with us in our most difficult times. It is not as if the Lord sent trouble our way deliberately. He does not derive any sadistic pleasure from it. Deadly accidents, tragedies, disasters and mishaps keep happening as it is the natural order of things in a fallen world. The Lord in His sovereignty does not interfere with this natural order but He responds to our cries.
The enemy of our souls derives pleasure from the troubles of our lives and is delighted if it drives us deeper and deeper into depression. But in the dark night of our soul when we have no one else to cry out to, the Lord hears us and comes rushing to us. He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us, to heal our innermost spiritual wounds. He gives us hope in our most desperate moments that things will improve and once more be near normal. He inspires strength and grace in us to bear our present pains and travails. He enables us to speak of those difficult times and troubles and how the Lord helped us overcome the seemingly insurmountable challenges. He gives us a sense of victory and undying joy at the end of the experience that keeps reminding us of His presence and His love. Sighing and moaning will flee away and we will return to Zion, the Kingdom of God with joy. We will begin to think and thank the Lord that every trouble that ends in victory and joy is worthwhile to undergo. We discover a new dimension of ourselves and of manifestation of the grace of the Lord in these troubles. The Lord was with Joseph when his brothers conspired against him. He had already inspired him with a dream of his destiny. He first redeemed him by prompting the brothers to go for the lesser evil of selling him as a slave instead of killing him. He was with him in Potiphar’s house. He was with him when he was tempted by Potiphar’s adulterous wife. He was with him in the prison. He was with him when he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh. He was with him when he was the right hand of Pharaoh in all Egypt. He was with him when he received and forgave his brothers. Every believer’s life is a story of redemption and unless the story line has great troubles running across it, how will the grace and glory of the Lord be manifested? Great adversity or troubles have the role of re-defining our purpose and shaping both our character and our destiny.

Prateep V Philip

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