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The Christian transformed by adversity

How to react to a trial that suddenly overwhelms the Christian?

We Christians often wrongly consider ourselves as God’s “darlings” …
Based on this logic, we find it rather difficult to admit “the hard knocks”, “the fangs of life”….

The trials of life do not spare Christians either.

And yet the trials of life spare no one, even Christians. And this is true whatever their spiritual progress, and their consecration known to all.

The apostle Peter says:

My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ
(1 Peter 4:12).

The difficulties of life are part of God’s pedagogy.

Even though it may seem confusing, even unfair…

In fact, it is when we are tested that our prayers take on depth, that we become a little more lucid and honest with ourselves, and that superficiality fades away. The Lord uses the difficulties we encounter to draw us closer to Him, and to gain intimacy in our relationship with Him.

The Psalmist clearly states this:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

When we despair of ourselves, at the bottom of the hole, God becomes close and reveals Himself as our Saviour.

Biblical characters who have gone through hardship

The Bible is teeming with famous people who have crossed deserts and braved fearsome storms. Here are a few examples:

Joseph (one of Jacob’s sons) was thrown into a cistern by his own brothers, then sold as a slave in a foreign country and, following an unjust accusation, put in prison for a few years.
Daniel in faithfulness to God landed in a furnace, then in a den of lions.
Jeremiah the prophet was thrown into a muddy cistern with the motive that he was demoralizing the people.
The apostle Paul was shipwrecked three times and almost lost his life.

Trials force us to look to God and to depend on his grace…

At least that’s what Paul expresses when faced with life’s troubles:

Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead…
(2 Corinthians 1:9).

The Lord allows a number of unfortunate incidents in our existence.

His projects and plans go beyond human logic.

Let’s make it clear that his projects and plans are far beyond our thoughts and human logic.

And it is true that there are still unanswered questions and sometimes feelings of injustice, revolt, incomprehension. But God has a vision of our life that we cannot imagine… And what he desires is that the sinner should live and not be annihilated, right? God knows everything and what he desires for each of his children is first of all the best.

An examination of Romans 8:28-29

This statement is contained in Romans 8:28 and 29, which I propose to examine more closely.

And we know that in all things God does works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers

1) “And we know .. »

Paul speaks from experience! It is the privilege of age and life experience to be able to affirm this. It is the witness of the men and women of faith who have gone before us.

2) God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him …

God controls every link in our lives. Our mistakes, our missteps, our failures, God knows them all and uses them for our good. This of course requires us to be lucid with ourselves. The Lord deals with the imperfect people that we are.

Let’s consider the lineage from which Jesus Christ came.

Here are 4 women who appear in it like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bath Sheba.

  • Tamar seduced her father-in-law to get pregnant.
  • Rahab was a prostitute
  • Ruth, who was not Jewish, broke the law by marrying a Jew
  • Bath Sheba had an adulterous relationship with David

3) And from the beginning he hath also appointed them to bear his image.

What wonderful news, a discovery perhaps for us today. What we sometimes experience through sighs and tears is aimed to bring us to reflect more and more the faithful image of Christ. To be so fashioned in his image requires time, patience and humility.

The plan for us is to become like the Son of God.

Peter uses the comparison of gold tried by fire.

These have come so that your faith – of greater value than gold, which perishes, even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine… (1 Peter 1:6 and 7).

A goldsmith was once asked, “How do you know the gold you’re working with is pure?”

Answer: “I know it when I reflect in it.”

It is a bit similar to the process of refining our faith through difficulties: do people see Jesus reflected in us more and more?

In conclusion, how do we react in the face of adversity?

I am not talking about situations due to our carelessness, or caused by our tolerance of sin in our lives.
Here are a few leads:

1) God has peace plans for us

Let us never lose sight of the fact that these are projects of peace and not of evil that I have conceived for you, says the Lord, speaking to his people. ( Jeremiah 29)

2) Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Corrie Ten Boom said this (she lived through the horror of the death camps)

“If you look at the world you will be in distress.
If you look inside you will be depressed.
But if you look at Christ you will be at peace. »

3) Let us not lose sight of the new heavens and the new earth, the completion of the kingdom with the return of Jesus.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).

4) Let’s stay in thankfulness.

Let us rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

5) Let’s not give up.

The test of our faith produces endurance, perseverance. Adversity plays a major role in the process of transformation that makes us like Jesus Christ. This is one of the keys to spiritual maturity.

Let us reflect on the following question:

What hardship, accident of life, injury, has been the means for me to grow spiritually in a meaningful way?

Let us take a few minutes of silence to answer it.

W. Kreis