By means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. (Job 36:15 NLT)
I think we would all agree that adversity gets our undivided attention. To be sure, this was true of the great patriarch Job. God already had Job’s attention; we read that Job “was blameless – a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil” (Job 1:1). Job loved the Lord and he lived for the Lord. Yet God allowed Satan to afflict Job, and through this affliction, Job’s attention on God deepened. So too did His dependence.
On this side of the cross, we are to see just how adversity takes on new meaning. There is purpose in all of our pain. God uses every storm wind that blows our way to accomplish His purposes in our lives. One of the main purposes that God has for His children is to use adversity to conform us into the image of Christ, that we might reflect His character in all that we think, do, say, and desire. Our Lord was made perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10), and the apostle Paul made it clear in Romans 8:28 that all adversity works together for God’s glory and for our eternal good.
Think about the last storm you were in. Did it not gain your undivided attention and cause you to fix your focus on God? If it did not, that surely was the ultimate goal. You see, God is getting our attention through every adversity. When we are being hammered on the anvil of adversity, we no longer focus on expanding our little kingdom in this world. Rather, we look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Adversity also exposes our weaknesses, which drive us to the One who has all the strength in the universe. Paul said that he actually delighted in his infirmities, persecutions, and weaknesses, because that was when the power of Christ was most noticeably at work in his life (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Adversity is the classroom in which we learn more and more about our Lord Jesus Christ. It is there where we learn just how loved we are, because God is with us every step of the way and has promised to get us through to the other side, better and stronger than we were before adversity came knocking on our door. When we keep our focus on Christ and not our circumstances, every adversity will make us better, not bitter, because His power will rest on us.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!