“In the day of prosperity be joyful but in the day of adversity
consider: God has set the one over against the other, to the end that
man should find nothing in him.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14)
Perhaps there is not greater proving area for the Christian than
to test their re-actions, and examine their attitudes in adversity.
The love of God is such that He would share His glory with His
creation, but only after there has been a time of testing. Though the
“trial of our faith” which is used to prepare, purify, and bring us to
the center of God’s heart.
In the days of prosperity be joyful! We praise the Lord when all
goes well, pressures lessen, and times of refreshing sweep over us.
Our vision soars out in to the heavens, contemplating the vastness of
God’s purpose of the ages, and ultimate victory in all things. We
thrill to the quickening of our spirits, and rejoice in the hope set
before us. We sing, shout, and feel that surge of spiritual victory,
so we could say with the Psalmist, “For by You, O Lord, I have run
through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” (Psalm
Then suddenly conditions become adverse, going in a contrary
direction, distress seems our lot and we limp along rather than
running, and crawling instead of climbing over the wall. And it is
then that we are encouraged to “consider”. Consider that God
sovereignly controls our destiny.
He allows for the limping along, the crawling. As hard as it is to
lay at the feet of God to do such a thing; He controls the interplay
of good and evil, prosperity and adversity. Just about the time we
think we have it all figured out, and our vision has been expanded and
know the direction that God is taking us, a cloud of adversity veils
our vision and we plummet into despair. We become so hemmed in that we
begin to think the end is upon us. Where is our courage now? Where is
God now? While obviously we need to keep our minds strengthened in the
Spirit of truth while in the day of prosperity, maintain the right
attitudes, knowing it is God who has turned our mourning into dancing,
and given us joy in the place of sorrow, it is concerning our heart
attitude while we are in the place of adversity that God is revealing,
not to others, but to us, what lies within the depths of our hearts.
Some of our greatest battles are fought in the mind. We grapple
with our thoughts, learning to “cast down imaginations (reasonings of
the fleshly mind), and every high thing that exalts itself against the
knowledge of God bringing into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
We also realize that often much of our personal misery in times of
adversity is the result of our negative thinking. For some of us this
is a life-long pattern. When our minds are strengthen up to a positive
way of thinking, it helps create an atmosphere wherein the good can
ultimately conquer evil (Philippians 4:8). But the more we pursue our
negative thinking, questioning whether God even loves us, and think
perhaps we have fallen out of the will of God, etc; this only
intensifies our sorrow, and adds to our loss of joy and peace.
Perhaps we have had lofty revelations, and have considered the
magnitude of redemption, and the richness of those revelations of
Christ and His Kingdom, when He shall be all and in all, yet as for
the immediate application of truth to our distressed spirit, it still
remains that our challenge is to “overcome”. In Revelation, chapters
two and three, we read, “To him that overcomes. . .” !
It is through travail, as God sets good over evil, prosperity over
adversity, our actions and reactions, cause a manifold witness in our
spirits that God is, indeed Who He says He is! Sovereign over the
affairs of mankind. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your
strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10)! But the people who know their God
shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
Perhaps one of the most vital “attitudes” during our day of
adversity is to know that the FIRST CAUSE of all our adversity is GOD,
and not some scapegoat we have devised. “The light of the body is the
eye; therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full
of light...” (Luke 11:34). We see God in the good, we are joyful in
the day of prosperity, and we praise the Lord. But how often when it
come to the day of adversity, we turn our vision away from God, and
begin to see, and blame other sources for the cause of our distress.
It turns our vision away from Him and opens us up to the darkness of
Our personal peace and fortitude to face the adversities that come
our way depend not so much upon the “doctrines” which we claim to
believe, but how the Holy Spirit works them experimentally into our
lives. We can look at Job, and his suffering, but God gave him a
revelation, and he was healed. I am so thankful to God for His love
and mercies. If we would accept the trial that has come to strengthen
our faith, not receive it as chastisement–the whole secret of God’s
Love would be made manifest to us. So, it is no longer what happens to
me. . .but my response to God in the circumstance I find myself.
The flesh does not enjoy the day of adversity, yet in our spirit
we can know IT IS OF THE LORD, and rejoice because He does all things
well. If we are going to go on with God, our spirits must be emptied
out of all that is not serving God. “Search me O God, and know my
heart, see if there is any way in me that is not serving You”. . .that
is what you pray and then are surprised when God answers your prayers
(Psalm 139:23-24). You have mistakenly thought everything was good in
your spirit and God would not find anything contrary in you. Oh, dear
loved of God. He will answer the deep cries of your heart and bring
you to the threshing floor to be proved.
When we have an attitude to see God in all, and know that He works
it all out for our good, then we can submit to His will, and endure
until new victories come forth. It is not easy on the flesh, we know
that, but the spirit can remain strong in faith, trusting the Lord,
and yet worship Him for all His ways.
“There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (tested),
above what you are able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13). We are not
to ‘escape out of the trial’ so as to be free from the situation, but
to make a level path for our feet so that what is lame in our spirits
is healed, rather than turned away (Hebrews 12: 12-13). At one point
in my journey with God I saw my spirit in a wheel chair. My body was
standing erect, but my spirit was lame, impotent and frail. God sent
me adversity, not to punish me, but to strengthen what was weak in my
spirit and had no ground to stand or walk on.
Shrinking back from the trial would have disqualified me from
going on with the Lord in my journey toward the Kingdom. I’m so
thankful for the adversity, for what I learned in submitting to the
hand of God in it, is my strength today.
All these things, even when the day of adversity is knocking at
our door. . .all works for us–so long as we keep our eyes upon the
Lord, viewing the unseen, and thus do not become distracted by the
visible circumstances. Obviously it becomes a real exercise and
discipline to hold our inner vision on the spiritual realm, especially
when our flesh cries out in protest against the situation. But it is
this very exercise, which develops spiritual maturity and prepares us
for the day when we shall partake in His glory. It is right here, dear
loved of God that, I would ask you to bow to the Lord and ask Him for
a verse with sustaining power for yourself. This verse will be an
anchor for your heart to go to as the pressure of the adversity
increases moment by moment. Take a moment now and ask the Lord for a
word to hold you.
Acknowledgment that these afflictions, adversities, can only work
for us while they are permitted to continue, until God has
accomplished what He meant by them. Any escape from them would
immediately cease their working in our behalf.
We are not absolved from carrying the load, but we are brought to
a place where we can stand firm, undergirded by the Spirit of Truth,
supported by the knowledge that God is in control, and by His grace we
shall be able to bear it through to a successful conclusion. Patience
endurance brings us through to His victory.