Encouraging Yourself During Adversity

When adversity strikes, you need every tool available to prevail, but most people do not possess the habits that equip them for challenging times. Of course, nothing perfectly prepares us for the storms of life, but we can certainly develop practices that make room for us to grow and triumph in the midst of very challenging situations. Many of us also need a tweaked perspective on adversity, so that the challenges do not completely derail us from the work God seeks to do in our lives.

Gaining a Higher Perspective

Adversity can be defined as any difficult situation or condition we find ourselves facing. It can include being confronted with an impossibility or going through times of intense resistance. All of us have some form of adversity we need to face. Although there are uniqueness to each circumstance, there are some common threads we can know about adversity.

1. You cannot avoid adversity in this life, even though many try. 

Jesus warned us that in this life trouble would come our way. Intense, even seemingly unbearable circumstances will confront the people of God. We are not exempt from adversity. In fact, we are often a target for adversity, simply because the world is filled with the air of resistance to the King that rules our hearts.

Too often, western culture hates adversity and avoids it all costs.

We spend our life avoiding pain and escaping to pleasure.

But just like an athlete going to the gym, adversity needs to be the workout center for the believer, not the plague to run from.

2. Satan uses adversity to wipe you out. 

Satan would love to see you wiped out and destroyed during adversity. He will often orchestrate thoughts and interactions with the clear intent to shake your spiritual standing. Jesus warned Peter that satan would come to sift him. The prayer of our Lord was not that the sifting would be removed, but that Peter would take what satan brought against him and turn it into a mountain moving experience.

3. God is looking for the overcomer to be built inside of you.

God is not the author of evil, nor is He trying to put calamity on you, as many think. Too often, our reaction to adversity is usually, “Why God?” and “Why me?” Although God is patient with that question, we all know the “why me” questions never move heaven.

God is not authoring destruction, but we must understand that God has placed us in a world where surrounding us is an all out spiritual war. 

Surrounding you in this world is an invisible war going on over humanity. There is a massive collision occurring between the powers of darkness and the people of God who carry the light of glory in our hearts. By default, there is a resistance in the spiritual dimension. Most believers feel this every day. There is a tension against your forward progress at almost every turn. Wherever you desire to make a major change, resistance is there.

Adversity brings that tension to the surface, where you are forced to make a decision on how you will proceed.

Will you choose to grow and change or will you collapse underneath the oppression that seeks to cut you at the knees? If you realize you are at war, adversity is your time for growth, not “Why me God?” Sadly, too many collapse on the couch and check out at these pressing thresholds.

God’s ultimate desire is to see you take what the enemy used to destroy you as a time to grow like never before. There is something about adversity, trials and resistance that force us to grow and develop greater strength during adversity. You are in a daily spiritual war and God has called us to grow as faithful soldiers. What the enemy uses to kill, steal and destroy can actually be a platform for your greatest training and development.

4. Adversity can wake us up to change.

Unfortunately, people do not often change until the hurt and tension in their life is so great that they have to. Adversity wakes us up to the war that is occurring, calling us to a greater participation in battling for spiritual breakthrough in our lives and those around us. If we listen very carefully, instead of parking in despair, we will hear the loving voice saying, “Something needs to change.” 

5. What we cultivate during adversity needs to become a permanent change.

Many people scramble during adversity and come to God in a panic. But once the hardship begins to wane, we often go back to our old ways. This is a sign we have not grown during adversity. There are key practices we can put into motion during adversity that can become permanent changes we can carry for a lifetime.

6. The aim for our lives is to joyously approach adversity.

This sounds sickening to most, but the more you approach adversity as your time to grow and develop your spiritual muscles, the more you will become exciting about the learning possibilities. This is not a call to self-beating, but for appreciating growing opportunities. Every Christian gives an initial cringe to James’ exhortation to “count it all joy” during times of trials. But when we embrace adversity as a time to workout, we become trained to see what is coming as an opportunity for healthy change and grow, not pure drudgery.

Question for Consideration: Where do you need to shift your perspective on adversity so that you can grow and flourish instead of flounder?