The Purpose of Adversities
by Anna Robinson-Worley
We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. For while we live, we are constantly handed over to death on account of Jesus so that His life may be revealed even in our mortal bodies of flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11
When we experience these adversities they are marked by unhappiness and misfortune and distress but there is a purpose for everything that God allows to come into our lives. Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. Yes, we who are living are always being exposed to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal lives. This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar—to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us.
We wish you could see how all this is working out for your benefit, and how the more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to his glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on.
Jesus warned us that in this world we would have trials and tribulations. “So you believe in me now?” replied Jesus. “The time is coming, indeed, it has already come, when you will be scattered, every one of you going home and leaving me alone. Yet I am not really alone for the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in me. You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world!” John 16:33 When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers & sisters, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men and women of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he or she has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men and women without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given to him or her. But you must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether you really want God’s help or not. The man or woman who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man or woman cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man or woman of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn. James 1:2-8
We should count it all joy when we experience these things. And now dear friends of mine. I beg you not to be unduly alarmed at the fiery ordeals which come to test your faith, as though this were some abnormal experience. You should be glad, because it means that you are called to share Christ’s sufferings. One day, when he shows himself in full splendor to men, you will be filled with the most tremendous joy. If you are reproached for being Christ’s followers, that is a great privilege, for you can be sure that God’s Spirit of glory is resting upon you. But take care that none of your number suffers as a murderer, or a thief, a rogue or a spy! If he suffers as a Christian he has nothing to be ashamed of and may glorify God in Christ’s name. 1 Peter 4:12-14 Your knowledge of the truth should be your safeguard.
But you, Timothy, have known intimately both what I have taught and how I lived. My purpose and my faith are no secrets to you. You saw my endurance and love and patience as I met all those persecutions and difficulties at Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. And you know how the Lord brought me safely through them all. Persecution is inevitable for those who are determined to live really Christian lives, while wicked and deceitful men will go from bad to worse, deluding others and deluding themselves. 2 Timothy 3:11-12
God governs our lives. So let the man who feels sure of his standing today be careful that he does not fall tomorrow. No temptation has come your way that is too hard for flesh and blood to bear. But God can be trusted not to allow you to suffer any temptation beyond your powers of endurance. He will see to it that every temptation has a way out, so that it will never be impossible for you to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and remember that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world. And after you have borne these sufferings a very little while, God himself (from whom we receive all grace and who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ) will make you whole and secure and strong. All power is his for ever and ever, amen! 1 Peter 5:8
The man or woman who patiently endures the temptations and trials that come to him or her is the truly a happy man or woman. For once his or her testing is complete he or she will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to all who love him. A man or woman must not say when he or she is tempted, “God is tempting me.” For God has no dealings with evil, and does not himself tempt anyone. No, a man or woman's temptation is due to the pull of his or her own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive. His or her own desire takes hold of him or her , and that produces sin. And sin in the long run means death—make no mistake about that, brothers and sisters of mine! James 1:12-14
The way to live in freedom is by the Spirit. Here is my advice. Live your whole life in the Spirit and you will not satisfy the desires of your lower nature. For the whole energy of the lower nature is set against the Spirit, while the whole power of the Spirit is contrary to the lower nature. Here is the conflict, and that is why you are not free to do what you want to do. But if you follow the leading of the Spirit, you stand clear of the Law. Galatians 5:16