Adversity is the experience of pain, opposition, distress, disappointment, difficulty, grief, loss, or something similar. Why does God allow adversity in our lives? One answer that has been offered is so that we might develop spiritually and grow in virtue. Adversity can cause us to grow spiritually by causing asessment of values; by intensifying hatred of evil and sin in the world and our life; by fostering tested character; and by demonstrating the sufficiency of God’s grace. Adversity also gives us opportunity to grow in empathy toward others in their adversity and thus to minister with more compassion.
How should I respond to adversity?
Our response to adversity must always begin with confidence that God is indeed in control and although we can and should fight against evil, we must not fret adversity when it comes against us, but ultimately submit to God. Another response to adversity is self-examination. It is ok to ask ourselves, “Did I do something to cause this?” or “What lessons can be learned from this?” or “Did my own sin bring about this problem?” etc. This introspection should not be an overtly extreme focus on our self, but rather an examination of our weaknesses in order to give them over to God so He can ultimately develop our strengths through His strength- So that our boast will not be in ourselves (pride) but our boast will be in God (gratefulness). God will often allow or even send adversity our way, as I said, to ultimately encourage our spiritual development and character growth. In such cases, we can either choose self or we can choose Christ. Our response to adversity can either be self-pity or it can be an increased sensitivity to ministry opportunities.
At the end of day, a trust in the living God is the only legitimate response to adversity. Not simply “believing in”, but “believing that.” Not simply beleiveing in God, but believing that God is indeed good and will do what He says He will do. It boils down to belieiving our good God’s promises. What did He promise? He promised that all things work together for good for those who love Christ (Rom 8). Do you have confidence that God will ultimately set things right. God is the essence of goodness and His goodness is made manifest in Jesus. In Christ their is hope.
I cast all my cares upon you- I lay all of my burdens down at your feet- and anytime I don’t know what to do- I just cast all my cares upon you.