SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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How do I maintain hope in the midst of adversity?
Have you ever felt God is ignoring you? Have you wondered why the Lord continues to allow suffering, disappointment and hardship in your life?
The Bible records stories of faithful believers who were able to maintain their hope even in the midst of painful circumstances. The apostle Paul is a perfect example.
2 Cor.11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. (KJV) . . . Paul experienced persecution, beatings, unfair trials, imprisonment, sickness, among other frustrations. What did Paul learn about rising above adversity?
Fulfillment in life does not pivot on our circumstances.
A change in scenery will never bring lasting joy. Some people believe that personal contentment is linked to their circumstances. As a result, when they become discouraged with life, they might quit their job, sell their house, divorce their spouse, or buy a new car. But, it will not be very long that they will feel dissatisfied again.
Many think that a certain condition would bring contentment, and then been utterly disappointed when it came and did not satisfy! We all make mistakes in wanting something, then not learning from the experience. If you do not learn from your mistaks, you are a fool!
Paul learned that the secret to contentment was NOT in things, but in a Person!
Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (KJV) . . . As believers, we find joy in our relationship with the Lord, not in our circumstances.
God can show us how to be satisfied, regardless of our circumstances, IF we will rely on Him. When we do not find our joy in the Lord, we will spend the majority of our time trying to improve circumstances on our own power, rather than serving Christ.
God’s grace is sufficient during adversity
Paul discovered that God’s power is most obvious and unmistakable when we are the weakest.
2 Cor. 12:7-10 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (KJV)
God did NOT remove Paul’s thorn in the flesh . . . BUT . . . what the Lord gave Paul was by far much better! And the Lord gives it to ALL His children! God gave Paul the grace he needed to endure his hardship. Our weakness forces us to depend on God’s power. If you have ever experienced God’s power at a time when you had little strength of your own, you know how Paul felt. I know I do!
God’s grace is MORE than sufficient for anything that comes our way.
Paul left his home and family to plant churches in hostile environments, and as a result, he was persecuted, imprisoned, stoned, and left for dead. Yet, he was content. Only the Holy Spirit within us can accomplish this for us!
The key fo us to advance through adversity is to consider how much Jesus suffered for us, and to view our suffering for His sake.
Paul understood his purpose in life . . . to bring glory to God by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, anything that happened to him in the process of obeying God was really for Christ’s sake. He wrote: 2 Cor. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (KJV)
Think about a recent hardship or disappointment in your life. How does the point above give you a new perspective on that trial?
Just as Paul’s mission in life, was to glorify God, so too our missions should also be to glorify God through spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let us NEVER be ashamed of JESUS! Let us tell others of Him.
Comment: God’s grace is sufficient, no matter what you are facing. If you will draw near to Him, your suffering will ultimately bear spiritual fruit in your life and in the lives of others. As part of the Father’s divine plan, you can experience hope and joy, regardless of your circumstances. We should be grateful we to the Lord and His amazing grace.
Anxieties, Hardships, Pain and Troubles,
Plague us in This Life on Earth
Trials in this Life on Earth
A Heart for God
Adversity, A Bridge to Paul
Adversity, A Bridge or a Burden
All People Are Called, Few Respond
Can I Win Over Drugs and Alcohol?
Causes of Hardships
Dealing With Anxiety
Describing a Heart For God
Faith, Different Stages
Faith, Progressing In
Follow God With Your Heart
God's Promises to the Persecuted
God Is Well Able
God of Promise
Hold Fast to the Bible
How to Maintain Hope In Adversity
Listening to God
Living Godly In An Ungodly World
Persecution of Christians
Reason For Persecution
Renewing of the Mind
Riches of God's Grace, A Treasure
Seeking God's Guidance
Seeking God, When He Cannot be Found
Seeking God, Today's Heresy
Seeking God, WHY Should I Seek God?
Temptation, God's Promise
Temptation, Guarding Against
Temptation, Preventing Backsliding
Temptation, Resisting Sin
Temptation, Responding To
Temptation, Satan's Goal
Testing the Faith
The Christian Life
Three Commands to the Wicked
Universalism and the World to Come
Waiting on God
Waiting on God, WHY Is It Wise?
Warnings in Romans Chapter 1