We have all had that trial which sweeps us off our feet and leaves us questioning whether life is worth living and if God still cares about us.
Joel Osteen seems to relate with us on this point because in his book Your Best Life Now, he lays out the 7 steps to living life to our full potential. In step 5 he asks us to find strength through adversity.
Of all the seven steps this is the one I struggle with the most. This is because I often question and beat myself over somethings wishing I had averted or changed the course of events. I am learning a lot from my husband who is good at moving on very fast. When something happens, he usually snaps out of it and continues on with life. Yours truly on the other hand continues to turn things in and out and of course punish herself in the process.
I am definitely a work in progress on this one. Below I share two strategies I use to find strength in adversity and live life to the full thereafter.
1. Counting My Blessings
My friend likes to use the phase “it could have been worse”. Whatever happens this is what she will say. I am learning that indeed this is true. If you look closely there is always something good jleft out of any bad situation. Maybe you had an accident and your car is damaged and requires major repairs or maybe it is a total write off. The fact that you lived to tell the tale is a blessing in itself. Or maybe like me you got a raw deal. The past week we went on a safari but the service we were given did not match the cost we had paid for the trip. For me the fact that we chose to rise above this and let God be the one to judge the person who cheated us and went ahead to enjoy the trip is what is keeping me in peace.
The scripture “in this world you will have many tribulations but take heart I have overcome the world” provides consolation in two ways. One is that God knew what has happened would take place at the exact time it did. The second is that because he knew he equipped me with the grace to go through that situation when it happens.
I like how Joel Osteen puts it
“even when we are sitting down on the outside, we must see ourselves standing on the inside”. Further that we should “always have the victor’s attitude and mentality and stay in an attitude of faith. We should not allow ourselves to lapse into negative thinking”.
Maybe you have been a faithful servant of God and yet you still wonder why the situation you are in does not get better. You have more questions than answers. Osteen cautions us thus,
” do not ever think God is not at work in your life. He is making things happen even when you do not realise it. Just stay in an attitude of faith and learn to trust his timing.”
It appears prudent to add that “as you wait, focus on what blessings are before you. Name them one by one and it will amaze you what God has already done.”
2. Looking Out For The Lessons
One of the ways Joel Osteen asks us to find strength through adversity is to “trust God even when life does not make sense”. Many times our why’s far exceed our how’s. However, Joel says
“God does not allow a trial without a purpose for that trial. Sometimes God uses adversity to enlarge our visions”
He then reminds us about the two types of faith that is delivery faith when God instantly turns the situation around and the sustaining faith which gets us through those dark nights of the soul when we do not know where to go or what to do.
I am learning that as I hold on to the sustaining faith, my pen and journal should be close so I take note of the lessons that come along the journey of adversity. Without a doubt most times adversity causes you to grow closer to God and seek him more. The result is that he reveals himself as well as the plans he has for us. When I am open to learn, the lessons appear faster and clearer and this shortens the path I have to walk in pain.
This week the challenge I have for you is whatever situation you maybe in, take a closer look and count your blessings. In addition, ask God what lessons he is sending your way during this period of adversity that will help you live life in its fullness once the dark cloud has lifted.