Some of the world’s greatest men and women have been saddled with disabilities and adversities but have managed to overcome them. I’m not sure of the origin of this piece, but it expresses this thought well.
Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln.
Subject him to bitter religious prejudice, and you have a Benjamin Disraeli. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt. Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set a world’s record in 1934 for running a mile in 4 minutes, 6.7 seconds.
Deafen a genius composer, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Harriet Tubman, a Marian Anderson, or a George Washington Carver.
Make him the first child to survive in a poor Italian family of eighteen children, and you have an Enrico Caruso. Have him born of parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp, paralyze him from the waist down when he is four, and you have an incomparable concert violinist, Itzhak Perlman. Call him a slow learner, “retarded,” and write him off as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.
I believe that God has placed within humankind seeds of strength, resilience, and fortitude. We can tap into an indomitable spirit to overcome adversity.
For Bible believers there are some keys to help us cope when life is hard. When the challenges seem insurmountable. And when we not sure where to turn.
(1) Live in God’s Presence. James said, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” Jesus promised “I am with you always even to the end of the world. Mt 28:29.
When we suffer adversity, we can know that we are in the presence of God. What a great encouragement, comfort and consolation.
One man said, where was God when my son died?” The answer is: The same place he was when His son died. If you feel forsaken, Jesus knows how you feel. God is not a spectator of our pain, we are in His presence.
(2) Learn from God’s Promises. The Psalmist affirmed that God would be with us. That he is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” God promises help. Comfort. Hope. He says, “I care. And I will care for you.” (I Pet. 5:7). He feels our pain. And will supply our every need.
(3) Lean on God’s Power. When Sennacherib, king of Assyria invaded Judah, the king stood up and said. “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (2 Chron 32:7-8).
Finite strength is undependable and expendable, but God’s infinite power is sufficient for every need. Indeed we are “kept by the power of God” (1 Pet 1:5)
(4) Look For God’s Purpose. God’s purpose is not to make you miserable. Paul said to “rejoice in the Lord” God does not send pain, problems and pressures. God is the giver of good gifts. (Jas. 1:18)
Why does adversity strike? Maybe it is because of the evil of other people. Sometimes it is the result of living in a natural world that is filled with sin, suffering and separation. It could be through our own poor choices (Gal. 6:7-8) Or maybe the Devil is trying to trap us (1 Pet. 5:8).
So what is God’s Purpose for me in adversity? To walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7) To Use adversity to make me stronger (Jas 1:2-3) To focus on the eternal plan in Jesus. (Eph. 3:11) To claim victory through his love, grace and mercy. (Rom 8:30-31).
We all will suffer adversity in this life. Sometimes extreme tragedy will befall us. Yet, whatever the trial or trouble, there is help and hope. There is God.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman