A jewel in times of adversity
by Patrick Oben
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As humans, moments of adversity seem to be an inherent component of our life on earth.We will inevitably have to face difficult situations sooner or latter with our jobs, finances, health,families, relationships and the list continues. In this devotional piece, I will examine a specific aspect of the issue of adversity or moments of hardship. I would want to dwell on what determines the outcome in
But first, it is worth nothing that difficult situations are not synonymous to faillure ,defeat or bitterness. The business might just have crumbled does not equate itself to sorrow and bitterness. The world around us has so much ingrained into us its principles such that the principlesof our divine life in Christ seem strange. In fact, if your neighbors find you not anxious or bitter after a situation seen to be disastrous, they might even suspect it is psychiatric. To the world around us, problems and hardship mean worries, confusion and fear. To God, it is just the contrary. It may be hard to see this but once it is appreciated, the yields will be obvious.
I know many will be interested to know some of the factors that determine the outcome in difficult times. Of course this should catch our attention because any difficult moment may leave us either successful or crumbled. I will use
a well-known story in scripture to illustrate this. What first comes to your mind when you think of Esau, Jacob's brother? He made some terrible mistakes with eternal consequences. He sold his birthright. Latter, his blessing was
stolen by Jacob. What else was left for him? Some sort of remnants of blessing and a life of misery, probably. Esau did not end up like many would have ended up today if similar events happened to them or after terrible mistakes. He did not get what was his but also did not end up in shambles. Read what Esau told Jacob about 14 years latter after his tragedies, when Jacob was offering him gifts to pacify his anger:
And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself (Gn 33:9,KJV).
Jacob knew a bitter military general was coming to take advantage of the situation and avenge himself. He thought wrongly. His brother Esau left it 14 years ago and did not even make mention of it when he met Jacob. Leaving those things which are behind, Esau was pressing forward.
Furthermore, the descendents of Esau became rulers in their lineage.
These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau;
duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz (Gn 36:15,KJV).
Esau messed it up and was deeply hurt by his brother. But Esau was not left in the slump. He emerged. What was at least good about Esau? His response to adversity or difficult times.
The most important element that will determine what will become of our daily adversity blows is OUR RESPONSE. It is not how bad the situation looks like. I remember the Lord imprinting on my heart one day in the midst of a painful
situation, that the outcome is not determined by the seriousness of the situation but on the state of my heart. This is truth to sink deep into our spirits, that 'Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life ( Prov4:23,KJV). The heart is that powerful. Right within us, we can program our path to succes in whatever difficult time we find ourselves. In whatever troubled moment you are found, keep your heart in peace,
joy and faith. The snare of the wicked one is to get believers to respond like ordinary men when faced with problems. Especially, when you accept to have an excuse why your hardship is special and needs some degree of pain, bitterness
,fear or worries , God will definitely not be part of the solution. A heart-set of stillness, joy and trust in turbulent times is a priceless jewel as regards to our victory.
Some brethren may have some difficulty accepting this because they cannot just see how that works. Any such difficulty is probably because they still perceive things from the natural mindset. This is the very reason the Lord persistently calls us to have our mindset renewed. Let us remember that the life of a believer and the promises in the Word work by the power of the Spirit and not by natural principles. When He commands us to be anxious
for nothing, it is not a word of comfort so that we watch and see what happens. It is to give way for supernatural ability to command a change of the situation. It takes God's sovereign power to make all things , whether initially meant for
good or evil, to work for our good. This is the most important reason why we should keep our hearts so carefully because it is a critical factor affecting the release of this supernatural ability. Life is sweet when we realize that we do not need to be strong, we only need to have a strong God who is available. It is beyond every doubt that the entire power of the Holy Spirit is available to us. We only harm ourselves by 'quenching' Him or hindering His help. Bitterness, pain, sorrow, complaining, fear and the others will only hinder the unleashing of the supernatural
in our situations. The right heart-set of peace, joy and faith in adverse times will unleash spiritual ability to cause a change in the job situation, business, finances etc. As we fill our hearts with the Word daily, we strengthen it and condition it to respond in the spirit way.
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