The title of this post feels a little like deja vu! I searched my blog to be sure and came up with nothing but in reality I think we can all relate to the fact that adversity shoves us to the ground on a pretty regular basis.
In all honesty I feel a bit manic writing this post as my last entry was about balance and last week I could have written an entry that may have been entitled something along the lines of joyfulness or excitement but this week has brought a certain level of adversity that I haven’t faced for a number of years.
I guess the reason I feel the need to write is the emotional outlet it allows to put in words the feelings that jumble my brain. The reality is that the adversity I feel has descended upon my little family over the last few days is nothing compared to what others face but to me, it does feel like an overwhelming storm cloud that just won’t let up. The question I ask myself, as do many others, I imagine, who face adversity is, “what do I do with this?”. How do I move beyond the black cloud, how do I get out from under it, how do I release the pit in my stomach?
As a believer my first line of defense really is crying out to God. This morning my prayer was that as He sent the angel before the Israelites into the lands of their enemies that He would also send His angels before our family as we navigate this trying time. I prayed that as I drove to work this morning and then I passed a little church on the corner that often has quirky, strange messages on their sign, it read, “Jesus will do it all for you”. For just a minute I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit fill me. My stomach was no longer clenched with worry, my mind felt clear. It didn’t last for long because my human nature is strong and stubborn but it gave me the hope I needed to engage the second line of defense.
That second line of defense will be something I will always value and cherish. The opportunity to send a vague but desperate message to a small group of trusted friends who I know will immediately be on their knees on my behalf. I recently read a book that talked about how when we’re in our darkest places and feel so far from God the prayers of those on our behalf will lift us up and God will hear those and bring restoration. I wouldn’t trade these women for anything and I am so thankful that God is a God of relationship.
The third line of defense (rightly or wrongly) was to open the bible and seek wisdom. I asked for God to give me a verse that could be lifeline for the time being. Now I’m not a real big believer in just letting the bible fall open so instead I like to open my concordance and see what I can find on a topic. I searched the word “adversity” and this is what I came across…
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other. So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14.
That was exactly what I needed to hear. That God has indeed already gone before and has knowledge of what He is doing, even if the adversity itself is not of Him. The funny thing was that the response from one of my great friends was that what we face today, tomorrow, however long it lasts, is not a surprise to God. He knew long ago that this particular space in time would come.
The final line of defense, which is my second nature, is to talk. Again I am seeing how God answered my first prayer…to go before us…because as I pulled into the parking lot to start work another great friend was there for the morning to do some Christmas decorating and she has been in the exact position I find myself in. I was able to unload some of my worry and find solace and reassurance in her experiences. My tears could be spilled in a safe, comforting conversation and the love of God shone through her words of kindness, gentleness, encouragement and support.
I guess in sharing this I find a bit of healing. In rereading how God is giving hope I pray it not only manages to be a constant reminder to me of His power but to give others hope who may also be facing an adverse situation. We don’t all react the same but we know that God is the same and His power, mercy and grace remain constant when the world is in turmoil.
After reading your post, I dove into my bible study homework and read Acts 27 and 28 and it is about how God took Paul through a vicious storm and spared his and the sailor’s lives. So unlike when Jesus calmed the storm, in this case, the storm was not calmed, but God brought them through safely. It made me think of you and your adverse situation. I think the two chapters could be an encouragement for you, I hope so anyways.