Advancing through Adversity – Romans: 2-5

Adversity, cancer, health issues, God’s Word.

1 Peter 4:12 – the purpose of our trials – times of testing as “fiery ordeals”

James 1:12 blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…….. he will receive the crown of life that’s God’s promise to those who love him.

1 Peter 4:12 - the purpose of our trials - times of testing as "fiery ordeals"

Adversity, cancer, health difficulties and God’s holy word.

Anyone who’s gone through cancer, and major health issues, knows that perseverance is required on  so many different levels. Good example would be my last two weeks of trying to make three appointments at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. First by accident, I found out Wednesday that I had to be at the Mayo Clinic by 1 o’clock Friday afternoon,( no prior warning) (try flying 5 states on airlines  –  price of last minute tickets!) , when trying to move the appointment, I’m told that there are no openings, even into infinity. That’s right even into infinity, try to juggle that in your head for a while, and tell me you’re not being penalized.  Unfortunately most people that go through cancer and major health issues, have a wide range of trials including pain and suffering, so what is God’s Word on our Adversities?

 

God’s purpose for our trials  1 Peter 4:12 says “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. The word “suffering” and it’s derivatives are used 21 times in this epistle. Peter tells us that we should consider it as normal Christian experience. We have no right to expect better treatment from the world than our own savior received. All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  (2 Tim. 3:12), It is especially true in that those who take a stand for Christ, and become an object of savage attacks. Satan doesn’t waste his ammunition on nominal Christians. He turns his big guns on those who are storming the gates of Hades.

James 1:2-5  In this section James deals with the subject of temptation. He uses the word in two different senses. In verses 2-12, the temptations are what we might call ( holy trials or problems), sent from God, which tests the reality of our faith and produces likeness to Christ. In verses 13 – 17 on the other hand, the subject is, unholy temptations which comes from within, and which leads to sin.

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. If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all, without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

 

How does suffering through adversity strengthen our walk and others, with God? Most people who I know that are suffering through adversity, go to great lengths not to show their illness or pain. We constantly hear about ” you look good” my joke has been, you could be missing a leg but you will still get the same story, “that you look good”.  People just don’t know what to say. But they are watching us, they wonder where we get our strength to go on each day, they wonder how can we smile and laugh, when they would want to run away. Remember God is using us, to teach us, and bring us closer to him, and to teach others the strength of our closeness with God, so when you feel that you’re all alone, you’re not,  God is watching us  and there’s other people in your life that are watching you also. God’s goal is to use you to help others to be drawn to him.

 

 How and why to ask God for wisdom when facing cancer and health adversities. When you are suffering from a  major illness you need God’s wisdom in multiple ways.

  • Asking God, what can I do to improve my health?
  • Show me what I’m doing that hurts my health.
  • Asking God, where should I seek medical advice?
  • Show me how to have strength to endure.
  • Asking God, how do I pay for my care?
  • Asking God, how do I care for my family?
  • Asking God, most importantly, please guide me in every step I take.

One of the things I’ve held dear to my heart is .It said repeatedly in the Bible especially in Proverbs, seek wisdom with all your heart. Just think, God is willing to give you wisdom freely without finding fault. What other promise can you ask for, than his willingness to give you wisdom, on what to do with your life.

 


Are you wasting your adversities?
God allows trials to enter your life, He has a purpose for them. He wants you to squeeze out every ounce of spiritual growth towards God’s likeness, instead of letting difficulties force you into despair and discouragement. If you’ll just respond in the right manner, that trial that looks as if it could destroy you, could become an instrument of blessing. From In Touch Ministries devotional [1]. If you’ve read the book of Job, you’ll remember that Job went through great adversity. His friends thought it was because he had sinned and were not afraid to tell him so. Satan was telling God that if you take everything away from Job he will curse you to your face. Sometimes during testing in our lives, we question (why does God allow this if he’s a loving God)? All of us at some time in our lives have seen people who have gotten everything and have not been tested at all. Most of us would not want to be those people, they are usually self-centered, they have no compassion for others, and could not feel another person’s pain, even if sitting next to them in the same room. They could not feel that there is a problem, they go merrily on with their life and only worry about themselves. Most  people that I’ve met who have gone through serious illnesses, know what compassion is about and reach out their hands to others who are in need. Do you think that’s what God is trying to teach you?

Compassion: this is the definition out of my dictionary “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate that suffering. I challenge all of you, who are reading this post, test your heart and soul for sensitivity and compassion for others who are suffering and most importantly, what are you doing to help alleviate that suffering. I would love to hear from you.

 

Love Much

O’B

[1] InTouch Daily Readings for Devoted Living – August www.intouch.org

 

 

 

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