Sermon by Rev. Dr. Isaac Mills-Owoo (Senior Pastor)
Adversity is a difficult or unpleasant situation that we find ourselves in.
If we had the power, we would probably try to avoid any situation that causes us pain, heartaches and disappointments but brethren bear in mind that no one can escape adversity. It is no respecter of persons (believer, unbeliever, good or bad).
Adversity sometimes sets us back and leaves us wondering and asking questions like:
Why did you allow this to happen to me Lord?
My God, why has thou forsaken me?
We may become so disillusioned to a point when we, like Job, would go into a pit of despair. In Job 3:1-2, Job regrets the fact that he was born. “After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth”. He said: “May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!”
But remember that adversity is part of life, so don’t be too quick to judge a person going through difficulties.
WHAT ADVERSITY DOES TO US?
- Adversity makes us better anytime we face it.
- It gives us skills to deal with or overcome other challenges we may encounter later in life.
- Our handling of adversity makes it come to us as a blessing or as a destruction. In effect, adversity is a blessing in disguise.
- It is an opportunity to prove to yourself that you are strong.
Barbara De Angelis, an American consultant and author wrote; “we don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop courage by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Remember that when God told Joshua, to be courageous and not be afraid (Joshua 1:9-10) it was a way of telling him to prepare for tougher times.
POST TRAUMATIC GROWTH
ADVERSITY MAKES US BETTER IN FOUR (4) AREAS.
1. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP: When we go through adversity we are able to relate with people better.
2. IDENTIFICATION OF NEW POSSIBILITIES: we are able to identify new possibilities and depart from our old way of doing things.
3. PERSONAL STRENGTH: Each time we trust the Lord, in times of adversity, we gain courage to persevere and to face the next challenge with confident faith.
4. SPIRITUALITY: so when God allows His faithful servant to go through adversity it prompts us to re-examine our lives so that we may be more like Him.
Each one of us has the ability to turn our pain into a productive life.
When we go through adversity, we can lose everything (our possessions) but no one can take away the experiences you gain.
Remember the story of Abednego (Azariah), Meshach (Mishael) and Shadrach (Hananiah) who refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar. They knew they could have lost everything including their lives but they knew whom they had believed in and so clung to their faith.
Beloved, don’t be afraid of adversity but rather learn to be serious with God and serve the Lord with gladness, because there is always a lesson to be learnt from every adversity. Don’t believe that problems happen to you, but rather problems happen for you.
So if you see that adversity comes for my good then you would realize the hand of the Lord in your life.
1. GROW IN FAITH : If you are born again then you have to grow in faith. (Jude 1:17- 21). This comes with studying the word of God and taking Him seriously. Grow in faith and in hope so that you can handle adversity.
You can learn to be optimistic (hopeful) or choose to be pessimistic. Being pessimistic does not bring you any blessing but be optimistic like Joseph who told his brothers, “you meant evil for me but God meant it for my good”.
So as you model yourself in optimism, you position yourself in a way to confront adversity.
2. ASK FOR HELP: When you go through, challenging situations, seek help. Galatians 5:1 tells us to love one another.
Galatians 6:2 tells us to demonstrate this love by bearing each other’s burden.
As a Christian, the highest level of immaturity shown is when we ridicule, gossip, chastise or criticize a fellow Christian who has fallen in sin or is going through difficult times.
The reason is that God says let us not forsake the gathering together, so that we can share each other’s pain.
Hebrew 10:24 admonishes us to spur each other onto good works and not to unnecessarily castigate and condemn people going through tough times, that is the essence of church, being one family. Unfortunately we have grown in a culture, where one who admits that he is going through difficult times is considered weak.
Asking for help is one of the most accurate measures of spiritual strength.
3. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: Each one should test his own actions so that he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to someone else. Each man should bear his own burden.
Stop blaming people for your challenges and take responsibility so as to gain self-confidence.
2 Corinthians 5:10: Each one would be recompensed according to the work he has done whether good or bad..
Ezra brought hope to the people; When Ezra was down in prayer and did not know what to do, the people came to him saying, arise! for this matter is your responsibility. We will also be with you, be of good courage and do it! Sometimes we spend unnecessary time in prayer. Moving from one prayer camp to another.
It is time for us to arise! Take responsibility and act!
Do not have a victim mentality, arise! Stop the blame game and do something for yourself.
4. KEEP GOD’S PROMISES IN VIEW (1 Sam 17:32-45)
The secret of David’s success was that he kept God’s promises in view.
He was not discouraged by Saul, who told him that Goliath was an experienced fighter.
His reply to Saul was, “the Lord who delivered me from the pore of the bear and the lion would deliver me from the uncircumcised philistine (Goliath)”.
In the midst of our pain, the Lord proves Himself trustworthy and stays with us throughout the suffering. Remember that scripture says, in (Jeremiah 29:1), “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you , plans to give you hope and a future”.
In Isaiah (43:2) the Lord declares that when you pass through the waters. I will be with you; and through the rivers they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire the flame would not consume you.”
This means that difficult and trying moments would come in life, but the firm assurance is that He says; “I will not leave you nor forsake you, I will be with you till the end of the age“. Beloved, there can be an easy way out, but if we do not conform to the standards of the world during adversity but consciously endure the pain, then He says:
“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you”.(1 Peter :10)
So like Apostle Paul, we can confidently say “we are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned struck down but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
May God open our eyes to clearly see so that when the devil brings temptation, we would think of what we would lose than the temporary relief you would get.
Remember that “the eyes of the Lord runs to and fro throughout the earth looking for one whose heart is loyal to show Himself strong. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
I pray that we climb out of the pit of despair and our state of hopelessness to proclaim that we know our redeemer lives.
SHALOM! God richly bless you.