How To Be Happy In The Midst Of Adversity

November 28, 2012

                                                                    How To Be Happy In The Midst Of Adversity


“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Cowards give up when the going gets tuff.  They lack the inner strength it takes to fight adversity.  They would rather surrender than fight.  They lack faith in the power of God to sustain them and give them victory.

Adversity can and should strengthen our relationship with God.  It puts us in the arena where we can claim God’s promises and see what he can do.  We can claim promises like Philippians 4:13.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  The advice of the Apostle Paul is “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

Some time back I read the book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriett Beecher Stow.  It made a tremendous impact on the thinking of the American people before the Civil War.  It made an impact on me too.  It was written to reveal the cruelty of slavery.  It made chills run down my spine to think of what some of those African Americans suffered.  Sometimes they were beaten so bad that they were left at death’s door.  Faith in God enabled many of them to go on.  Many couldn’t read the Bible, but verses they had memorized gave them strength.  I have never suffered the pain and shame of a cruel whipping.  If they could come out on the victory side under that kind of suffering, why should I surrender when I face adversity?  II Corinthians 9:8 gives me the promise of power to be faithful.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

Hebrews chapter 11 gives us a history lesson of some of the heroes of the faith.  Verses 9 – 11 tell us about Abraham.  It says “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:   For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”   We also anticipate a heavenly dwelling place, but in the mean time we may have to endure tribulation in this world.  Jesus said “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  What does it matter if we have some adversity now?  Do you remember the text  at the beginning of this article?

Sometimes the African slaves were commanded to whip another slave.  Instead of doing it, some faced their masters and said “Take my life if you will, but I will not beat a brother of mine.”  Sometimes their masters accepted the challenge and whipped the slave, only to realize that, for them, integrity took priority over fleshly comfort.

Sometimes the question is ask, “What would happen if I was to give in and deny my faith in Christ?  Would I lose my salvation?”  No, not if you were truly saved, but you would most certainly lose the crown that has been promised.  James 1:12 says “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”  The crown is for those who endure tribulation.  God allows us to pass through tribulation in order that he might perfect us.  Job 23:10 says “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

I believe there will be various levels of torment in hell for the unbelievers who go there.  It will be according to the extent of their wickedness in this life.  God is a just God.  II Corinthians 5:10 says he will give to every one what he deserves.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Likewise, in heaven, the believers will receive rewards according to what they have done.  I Corinthians 3:12-15 says “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Some may get to heaven, but it means that they won’t get the reward promised to those who endure tribulation.

Perhaps some ask, “If I turn traitor and deny my Lord to escape persecution, can’t I return to follow the Lord again after the tribulation has passed?”  Yes, you can and you should.  God is always willing to forgive, but that doesn’t mean you will still get your rewards.  If we could only comprehend the greatness of those rewards, we wouldn’t be so quick to sacrifice them in exchange for a little fleshly comfort.

Brother, sister, if you are passing through adversity, be faithful.  Once you plant your feet on eternity’s shore, you will be glad you remained faithful.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).


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