Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joy In Adversity by Martin Wiles

I was twenty four years old and had never had one, but I did now.

My fiancĂ© and I were riding bikes down a country road. Railroad tracks don’t normally concern me, but these crossed the road at an angle. When my front tire made contact, it was yanked into the track’s crevice sending my bike one way and me the other. I skidded down the asphalt on my right arm. When I stood up, I knew my arm was broken. Adversity brought pain, but I did get two weeks off from work.

Paul wasn’t a stranger to pain-nor was his traveling companions. The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods (Acts 16:22).

This time he cast a demon out of a woman fortune teller who was making her masters wealthy. They were angry, accused Paul and Silas of violating Roman customs and had them beaten and thrown in jail. What they didn’t figure was how God would bring good out of their evil intentions: the jailer and his entire family became followers of Christ.

No one enjoys adversity or the accompanying pain, but life is filled with both and following Christ normally intensifies them. We want others to enjoy the relationship we have with Jesus, but not everyone wants it. Some accept our message with joy while others may violently oppose us.

Paul and Silas sang while in jail. We can also have joy in the presence of adversity by remembering God controls our circumstances. He may not remove the pain or adversity, but he gives us strength to endure. Adversity is a given when lighting the world with Jesus’ love. Don’t let conflict diminish your determination to show and tell others what God has done for you.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us strength to face the adversity while we share Your love.