How to Face Adversity

Some say adversity is a blessing in disguised and I couldn’t agree more! Adversity is not a misery, but a chance in our lives. However, didn’t we learn from the Bible that our lives should be prosperous and serene if we believe in Jesus Christ? We often find out that this is not always the case. For example, when we look into the book of Jobs, God gave Jobs a lot of adversities and he lost everything he had—his children, wife, wealth, nobility, people, and health.

Why would God do such thing to Jobs? And to us?

It is because He wants to test us. He wants to examine that our hearts and faiths are true to Him. Of course, He is an almighty Lord and already knows them, but he wants us prove to ourselves that our hearts and faiths are real! Through this process, our faiths get mature and harden.

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3)

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)

Image

Yet, when we face such hardships, we often don’t think they are blessings. Instead, we agonize and complain about them. How should we face it? How should we twist adversity into blessing?

  1.  Embrace your adversity

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1: 2-4)

 Do not run away from your hardship! Running away doesn’t mean you are escaped from the hardship. Who can truly be joyful when they face the trials or tests? However, the Bible tells us to do so because “the testing of [our faith] develops perseverance.” When we face adversity and embrace it, we produce the characters of nine fruits of Holy Spirit—“ […] love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. “ (Galatians 5:22-23)

      2.  Pray! Pray! Pray!

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.  You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139: 1-3)

 Adversity is a chance for you to talk to God! Remember that He is giving you the chance to cry out to Him. He is with you most closely when you are facing adversity. When David was running away from Saul, whom tried to kill him, he couldn’t do anything but pray. He finds out that God is always with him and he confesses that God knows everything—He knows David better than himself and guides him on His path. David felt Him most closely when he was in hardship.

3.  Give thanks

“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”

(Psalm 18:30)

 Be thankful for your adversity! Thank Him because you are in His boundaries. He is leading you in His way. He is perfect and flawless. Be thankful for your hardships because in the end, He will lead you to victory!

What is Your Action?

Have you taken any high school-level science courses before? If you have done so, then you may have heard about Isaac Newton—the most influential figures of all time, especially in many fields of science. Newton’s most famous achievements include the laws of motion, universal gravitation, and calculus.

In physics, classical mechanics, sometimes also called as Newtonian physics, is concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. Of Newton’s achievements, the study of motion of bodies becomes one of the largest subjects in science. The law of motion proposed by Newton in his outstanding work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica are comprised of three parts:

  • Law I: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force (Law of Inertia).
  • Law II: The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass (F = ma).
  • Law III: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body (F1 = – F2).

Among the above three laws of motion, we should give a careful attention to the third law, which is well-known as the law of action reaction. It says when an object exerts a force to another object, then the latter exerts the force that is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. We can generalize this law: To every action, there is always a consequence following it.

If one’s action is to stand on the ground, the ground exerts the force that is equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction. The heavier you are, the greater force is exerted by the ground to the person. This cause and effect relationship is not only found in our daily lives, but in the Bible through the parables of Jesus Christ. Because Newton’s law of action reaction is considered as a universal law in science, this can be applied to anywhere—to even our daily lives and spiritual lives. Every action we perform leads to something in our lives.

planting_seeds

Jesus tells His disciples about the story of seed to emphasize the importance of having a good mind. He said: “one seed fell by the road…[…]…some seed fell on rocky gound…[…]…some other seed fell among thorny weeds…[…]…some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and produced a crop” (Matthew 13:1-9). At the end, He said “Let those with ears use them and listen.”

The seed that Jesus talks in the Bible is the Words of God while the places where the seeds are planted are our minds. The Bible explains the people with a good mind as those of who have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the mind sets that are not innately born with, but can be educated through the power of Holy Spirit. If we want to have a desired consequences (reactions) in our lives, then the proper actions should be done on our part. If we say we truly love Jesus, then we have to make sacrifices.

Try to make time out of your busy schedules to worship God. Try to put efforts for studying God’s words. Try to speak with God through the prayer. And, you will be able to listen for God’s Spirit, as Jesus asked said in the Bible. The key to success is putting your efforts. For every action, there is a reaction following it. Your effort will lead to your success in your spiritual life!

– T.S.

The Silent God.

photo

In the initial steps of receiving Christ into one’s life, the most fundamental dilemma is the question of prayer. “If God does exist and He is Almighty, then He can surely answer everything I ask for couldn’t He?” This prayer stems from the most innocent hearts filled with desperation. Then whenever that deep wishful prayer isn’t answered, it leads to the next step in confusion. “If God has the power to answer all prayers, then why didn’t He answer mine? Did I not wish hard enough? Did I not express my heart truly and fully to Him?”

A spiritually young heart will kneel and pray again and again, asking for that one key that will open all doors. When the prayer is still not answered, other bubbles of questions arise: “Is God even there? Perhaps I am nothing to Him?”

The Silent God.

As we learn more and more about God, we begin to face the Silent God; the One who remains calm and passive to the tumultuous events in our lives. Where is God when I need Him most? Where was the Active God who spoke to Abraham, telling him where to go? Where was this active God who held up the moon and sun so that the Israelites could win their battle? Where was this active God who showed His people both His wrath and love with all the signs of the world?

Say we learn somewhere along our spiritual journey that all we do must lead to God’s glory. So you begin to pray not in just a wishful begging, but with a purpose. You promise God that all your success is for His glory, and that if this one key was to be given, all the doors that would thereby open would be His and for Him only.

Even after that, you may find yourself facing a hard locked door. What then? You begin to bargain with God, giving more and taking away bit by bit what you asked for. When you parse away enough of what you are asking for, you then realize this isn’t really praying at all.

How many of us have gone through these stages? I sure have, and still am. The only thing is that now, I have come to know the Silent God a little better, only just a little, and this has made all the difference in my spiritual life.

C.S. Lewis has once said:

“There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe.”

It took one thing to understand what praying really meant, and why certain prayers are never answered. What it took was faith. Faith is the belief that God is Almighty. He is not Almighty because He answers your prayers and not because He has all the keys to unlock the doors on heaven and earth. His omnipotence is not conditional on what He can do with his omnipotence. It is because He can that He can also choose not to, and when you have the faith to know that God is good, then you can also believe that when God can but chooses not to, there is a divine reason for it; a reason that is good in His eyes.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says,

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Silent God is not a passive God. While we sleep, He is at work. Though God works in mysterious ways we cannot understand, it is by faith alone we are saved, not just on the large scale of salvation but from all our day to day concerns and frustrations in life.

Wherever God leads you, remember that He will raise you up and lead you to the door of righteousness. That door you are knocking on may not be the door God wants you to walk through, and it may be for several reasons but whatever that divine reason is, have the faith to let go if it isn’t right, trust God, and keep walking. Praying is not just about telling God what you want, but also about listening to what He thinks of your prayers. Listen to His small voice, and have faith to lead a life of righteousness.

Remember, God is good.

Gratitude Quiz

How grateful are you today? What are you thankful of? Or have you been forgetful of your gratitude?

As Christians, we know that we have so many things to be grateful of in our lives. We are who we are today, all by God’s unconditional grace and love. We have been washed, renewed, and saved by the blood of Christ, and we have been chosen as His children to live forever in His glorious kingdom.

And God loves those who keep a heart of gratitude. He blesses those who remember to thank Him throughout their lives. God had chosen one man out of all humanity who kept a heart of gratitude for Him, and from him He raised twelve tribes which ultimately become the nation of Israel. Throughout the Bible we learn the stories of men and women whose grateful hearts were loved and blessed by God.

But personally and honestly,  I find that being grateful all the time is rather a very difficult work. I often see myself being irritated by and complaining about the smallest bits of troubles and in many cases the situations get worse because of my lack of gratitude.  I knew that if I said thank you and smiled instead, everything would have had been okay.

How grateful are you? Perhaps taking this Gratitude Quiz developed by a group of psychologists might help you gain an insight to your gratitude life. Take a moment to answer the questions and see your gratitude score here: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/6

Most of us are familiar with the idea that gratitude brings miracles. It truly does so, because God blesses the grateful hearts. People even have made an official holiday to give thanks, which is ten days away from today! Let us all remember and restore our heart of gratitude.

I want to share Rev. Goshen Choi’s (who is my pastor) advice for restoring a heart of gratitude:

1) Repeatedly give thanks. Give thanks through praising and singing.

2) Count your blessings. Examine the thread of your life and see how God has blessed you. The blessings come in many different forms through people and events.

3) Express your gratitude. Show it! Act upon your gratitude. Give offering to God to express your heart of thankfulness for everything He has been doing for you. 

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! -Ephesians 5:19-20

 

K.P.