The Crucible of Adversity - Part 2

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Often hardships affect more than just one person, in fact they usually do. Unfortunately, our reactions to difficulties do not always honor God, or help others. Couples, for example, can experience financial hardships. They can blame and point fingers, but they can also pray together, and rally to seek God as a pair. They can grow together as a couple, or they can grow apart, each holding the other responsible for the difficulties they face. We should apply this truth across all of our relationships, whether friendships, family or coworkers.

In the verses above, God uses sufferings to produce spiritual blessing in our lives. When relationships get tested, we should use this to draw closer together and seek God’s face. As we commit the matter to God, we must also commit to treating one another with charity and kindness (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Love draws people together, while selfishness and pride scatters them to the four winds.

Application

1. Refrain from attacking one another when facing adversity. Some people, possibly most, spend more time pointing fingers than seeking solutions. If indeed someone is partially to blame, offer forgiveness and seek God for positive solutions. God will walk you through any difficulty you face, and will also change your relationship for the better.

2. Model Christ when speaking to one another. Adversity cannot ruin us, but our words can. When tempted to lash out at others and assign blame, remember to speak wisely and with grace:

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).

3. Encourage others as they face various troubles. Job’s “friends” brought him bad advice, but we should bring words that build, and not tear down. Too many people rush in with advice and correction, but few with healing words of grace and kindness. When people face affliction, in whatever form, they need caring hearts and listening ears.

Finally, let’s thank God for all circumstances. We should rejoice in good times, but not despair in bad times. God will never forsake us, nor will He allow us to fall (see Hebrews 13:4; Jude 24). Praise to God for His wonderful care and wisdom!

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