AdversityA Gift From God | BY DR. DEE CARROLL

While there are many others who exhibited patience while in the midst of adversity, the greatest example of patience in dealing with adversity, is Jesus Christ. He was rejected, spit upon, reviled, cast to the wolves; indeed, as it was said of Him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Ultimately, he was nailed to a cross and crucified after suffering for the sins of all the world. Clearly, He suffered more than any of us will ever suffer at an extreme we will never know.

We know all too well our initial reaction when we are pummeled by the worst life has to offer. In contrast, look at the way He patiently dealt with what He was given: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). In other words, He knew His Father had not left Him alone. He trusted God with His suffering. And if you exercise patience, you can do the same—because God will never leave you alone either.

As you struggle with adversity—because you will; we all do—never forget God. He is an important part of the sublime arithmetic that allows you to face and transform adversity, to come out of it a better, stronger, more qualified soul. Focus on God, not your adversity. Find God in every part of your adversity because He will be there. In fact, chances are good He will use your adversity to display His glory as you depend on Him and exercise faith in Him.  And never forget that adversity may actually be a gift from God.  Know that every trial, every tribulation, and every other situation in life (including the good ones!) were literally gifts from God. I had always heard He had a sense of humor, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. I sure do now.

Now that you know a little more about adversity and how to handle it, you’ll recognize something you’ve probably always known: that God gives us much good. But I hope you also know that God also gives us the bad and the ugly because they are wake-up calls that bring us closer to Him. And as we draw closer to Him, we realize He can stop the bleeding and very literally protect us from some unseen disaster approaching over the next hill.

When you feel the weight of the world pressing down on your shoulders, when you are facing insurmountable odds, when you are staring tribulation in the face, it’s easy to feel alone. When you spend every shred of time and effort and energy taking care of everyone else—your children, your spouse, your aging parents—without a word of thanks, it’s easy to feel alone. When you work all day at an office and never seem to get anything done, only to go home to a sink full of dirty dishes and a pile of dirty laundry it’s easy to feel alone. When you lose a job, lose a spouse, lose a child, lose a piece of your heart, it’s easy to feel alone.  No, you are not alone. You will never be alone.

Today may be your turn to receive comfort from one who has walked a mile in your moccasins, far down the path ahead of you. Tomorrow it may be your turn to come back from your treacherous journey, stronger and better and more sure, to provide that comfort to someone else.  Know that you will never be alone.

Adversity—this one, the next one, and the one after that—will never be the end. It is the beginning. If you let it, it will make of you a magnificent creature, more than you ever could have accomplished on your own.  Patience is a virtue and exhibiting it during adversity is a gift that will keep on giving.