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Finding Strength in Adversity

Updated: May 4

As a teenager, I used to have this recurring daydream of someone kidnapping me, only to make me work out and get in perfect shape.  Then, no matter how nefarious their plans, I would always escape, now fit and healthy. 


Why did I use to love that odd dream?  Simple, really. I wanted an easy way out.  To bypass having to learn self-discipline and growth, and just get to the place where I had already grown.  Sure, that growth was imposed upon me by others, but in a weird way I got exactly what I wanted (a fit, healthy body) without the actual character development it would take to get there on my own.


Spiritually, sometimes I crave the same thing.  I want the easy route.  I want to skip the discipline and the periods of growth and just get to the place where I’ve already grown.  Can you relate?


But that’s not how spiritual growth usually works, much as we may wish it.  God doesn’t wave a magic wand over us and—poof—we’re different.  What He does do is guide us and nudge us, encourage and convict us onto a better, richer life path. 


Sometimes the path ahead seems uphill and hard, full of boulders, rocks and obstacles.  I can’t tackle the road alone; I must tackle it with God by my side, faith guiding me through.  At other times, the road can feel easy and free.  A time for joy and celebration with my Creator.  But hard or easy, it is a path I must take to get to who I am called to be. 


Think of a dedicated father teaching his daughter a trade or a mother teaching her son a complicated craft.  There will be frustrations, victories, defeats, hurts, bruises, joys, and celebrations over many years as that child learns and grows.  In time, however, the apprentice will become an expert too, ready to teach others.  Faith works in much the same way.

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.  I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No lazy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, MSG)

The Christian walk isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.  When you get winded, slow down and breathe.  Spend time with the Lord simply being.  When injuries shoot pain in every direction, remember to go the healer of your soul.  Use his words as a balm and his presence as a shield.  Praise Jesus for the smooth paths and the challenging ones.  All of it is molding you into his image, making you into a seasoned person of faith.  Able to help and instruct others, mature and complete. 

And when you cross the finish line someday, may you be cheered on with shouts of, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Welcome home.”


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT: “Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

When tests and hardships come, you will run to something.  Many things will call you their way.  Anger.  Addiction. Alcohol.  Sex and Porn.  Food.  Depression.  Anxiety.  Negative thinking.  Bitterness.  Still yourself, because in the middle of all that noise and shouting lies the quiet whisper:  Jesus. 

Embracing your faith in the middle of hardship is the only way to get equipped for the challenging road ahead.  As you do, faith will blossom you into something new, something strong. Maturity and completeness are the valuable gold medals you receive as you journey forward in faith.  And when you cross that finish line, you will want for nothing.  That is God’s good promise to you.   

PRAYER Lord, thank you that you tuck me under your wing when I need to feel your comforting presence. Thank you for your patience when I push you away in anger because I don't understand. Thank you for always loving me and being there for me no matter what. Your ways are not my ways, and your thoughts are not my thoughts. That makes my journey as your student tough sometimes. May I continue to grow in my confidence of your perfect will, trusting that you will continue to work through it all to make me mature and complete, lacking nothing. Praise you, Lord. Amen.

To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to invite her to speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.


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