Adversity and Challenges

How do we see adversity and challenges?  What is our viewpoint on what we are living through right now?  There is a song that I remember called “Count Your Blessings”.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Johnson Oatman, Jr.

When you think about it, we cannot be lamenting, when we are praising.  We should have a heart of thankfulness, if we want God to bring greater blessings into our future.  We need only look at the life of King David to see how God rewards thankfulness in all situations of life.  Read Psalm 22 and you will see David’s determination to praise in the midst of trouble.  Some believe that David wrote this Psalm when he was running from King Saul, who wanted to kill him.

Apostle Paul knew this as well.  Here is what he writes to the Philippians:

Philippians 4:11-13

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

Paul also considered his adversity to be light, choosing to focus on the glory that was to come:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

This is the same Apostle Paul that had such a difficult life.  Consider some of the things that happened to Paul in his life.  Here is Paul’s own testimony:

2 Corinthians 11:23-28

23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

And yet, he considered this light, he tells us not to loose heart!  Paul also considered the light affliction to be temporary.  Let’s learn from these examples of faith as we live through the trials, difficulty and adversity of today.

  1. Let’s choose to praise, thank, and glorify God.  If this is difficult right now, let’s take inventory by “Counting our Blessings” one by one.  Out of this attitude flows a heart of praise and thankfulness.  By focusing on what we have rather than what we do not have we can avoid discouragement and depression.
  2. Let’s remember that this difficulty is temporary.
  3. Let’s treat the difficulty as light, no matter what it is and how others see it.
  4. Do not loose heart!  Let’s remember we are in God’s hands, He is watching over us. Let’s also remember that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:11-13).  Through Christ we will make it through this season.
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