Problems and challenges are a part of the human experience, every person facing adversity has to decide how to react to it. Adversity can either destroy us, or it can build character within us.
Adversity can drain a person physically, mentally and emotionally. The word of God says in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
We see in the afore-mentioned verse that afflictions, troubles or trials, will last “but for a moment.” The purpose of adversity is to build an indomitable will within us and strengthen our resolve to face trouble without yielding to it.
An example of God’s people facing unjust adversity is found in the story of the three Hebrew boys in the Old Testament. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one that most of us know. It is a story of not compromising your beliefs despite facing adversity.
This story is from Daniel chapter three and involves the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar. The king made a golden image standing 90 feet tall and nine feet wide. He gathered everyone in his kingdom, and they were all told:
“To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had a problem with graven images because God commanded them not to bow down to idols. When King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image came to their area, everyone around them bowed down in reverence. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow and defiantly stood against the king’s edict to bow.
When King Nebuchadnezzar heard about their insolence, he was filled with rage and fury. He commanded that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be brought before him to answer for their so-called crime of not bowing down.
The king then gave them another chance to bow down to the idol, but they refused. He told them if they didn’t bow to the idol they would immediately be cast into the fiery furnace. Again, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood unflinchingly refusing to bow. Their reply to the king when asked who would be able to deliver them out of his hand was:
“If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Because of their audacity to speak to the king in the manner they had, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated. The rest of the story is that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were cast into the furnace, but they didn’t die. This convinced the king their God was indeed all-powerful and thus he worshiped him.
There are many other stories in the Bible that give us awesome examples of how ordinary men stood firm and resolute n the face of adversity refusing to bow under the pressure of it.
There was no doubt that God was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they went through their fiery ordeal. The lesson we can take from this story is that we too can experience God’s presence as we go through adversity. He promised he would never leave us or forsake us.
The Hebrew boys had to enter the fiery furnace. God didn’t deliver them from it, but he was with them as they were in the midst of it. As we go through our “fiery furnace” in life we have God’s promise that he will be with us.
Psalm 46:1 says: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” This means that God is always with his children and ready to help in the time of trouble. Sometimes this help means being delivered from our circumstance but often it means we have to endure it. No matter what situation we are facing God said he would be with us.
If we depend on God’s strength as we face adversity we can overcome it with success. When we face adversity with the right attitude, that is looking to God for help, we learn to trust God more and gain that indomitable spirit he desires us to have.
Beloved, life is full of difficulties and struggles but it’s not impossible to gain the victory over them. What sort of person will we be when adversity comes? Will we rise up and have courage under fire or will we crumble and wither under the weight of it?
Adversity shows us whether we have enough faith to trust God or not. It also shows us if there is any unbelief in our hearts. Sometimes our situations can feel overwhelming. They can bring fear and doubt causing us to forget that God is faithful and trustworthy. It’s during these times God reveals our doubt and prompts us to let go of it and completely trust in him for deliverance.
There were numerous times that King David faced adversity. Some of the troubles he faced he brought upon himself, but other times it came because he was a child of God. We see King David’s response in the midst of trouble; Psalm 73:21-28 says:
“Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.”
The choice is now yours will you stand firm and be resolute in the face of adversity? Be encouraged knowing that the God of the universe is standing with you and will give you the strength and courage to face your adversity.