Making Good Out Of Adversity
Proverbs 17:22 observes, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Modern life confirms God’s diagnosis; negative attitudes literally kill us---through anxiety, neuroses, and mental illness. A positive outlook does not change the circumstances, but it does change our response to the circumstances, setting us free from anxiety, bitterness, frustration, and neuroses (Charlie Riggs, Learning to Walk with God).
LIVING IN A FAST-MOVING WORLD
Life which is constantly in the fast lane takes quite a toll. Our full-throttle lifestyle rapes relationships, substitutes frenzy for friendship, feeds the ego but starves the inner man.
Whatever happened to summer evenings when life was slower and you sat for hours on the front porch, and listened to the swing squeak? Life in the fast-forward mode can keep us from an encounter with the wonders of God around us. Like the sound of a distant bell comes God’s call to man. “Be still, and know that Ima God” (Psalm 46:10). It is a call in our day to beware of the barrenness of too busy a life. God has fabulously endowed our world with wonders. Let us not go through life so fast that we will have missed them.
“A bad conscience embitters the sweetest comforts; a good one sweetens the bitter crosses. Because Job was blameless before God, he could stand tall when the winds of adversity beat savagely on him. So too, in the day of our testing, it will be our integrity that will enable faith to withstand the storms.”
Paul says, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16).
As Vance Havner suggested, there are many Christians today who spend their time trying to decipher the meaning of the fourth toe on the right foot of some obscure beast in prophecy, yet never use their own feet to cross the street and witness to a neighbor (Quoted in Paul W. Powell, Building an Evangelistic Church).
Children who are abused grow up to be abusive parents. Statistics have shown that children who grew up in loving homes become loving parents. On the other hand, children who grew up in abusive homes become abusive parents themselves. That is the natural law of sowing and reaping. Children are a privilege. Nonetheless, they come with parental responsibility. The training of children requires love, wisdom, dedication, consistency, the diligent study of the Bible, and the daily bending of the knee in prayer.
GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE
I recall the story of an ancient rabbi who consented to take a weary old traveler into his house for a night of rest. In conversation, the rabbi discovered the visitor was almost 100 years old and a confirmed atheist. Infuriated, the rabbi arose, opened the door and ordered the man into the night.
Then, sitting down by his candle and Old Testament, it seemed he heard a voice, God’s voice. “I have endured that sinner for almost a century. Could you not endure him for a night?” The rabbi ran out and overtaking the old man, brought him back to the hospitality of his home for the night (A. W. Tozer, Renewed Day by Day).
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