In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. Ecclesiastes 7:14
While teaching this week about the joy the Apostle Paul had in the midst of adversity, I explained the contrast of joy and suffering. I think I must share this verse with the ladies next week; this verse explains my point better than I did in not using it!
We know what it is like to rejoice in the day of prosperity. Consider the word “prosperity” literally. Each of us has received unexpected windfalls, unexpected gain or legacy. We rejoice in newfound prosperity. Were it not for adversity, however, we would not know the joy of prosperity. The contrast of adversity and prosperity strengthen each.
When I am in the throws of adversity, I try to encourage myself with uplifting verses. In the throes of adversity, I think, If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 This verse is true, but if I stopped there, I’d be further discouraged. Before fainting, I consider a few things:
- Adversity is part of life, though not a favorite part. Adversity is common to everyone.
- Adversity will pass.
- If I am in the throes of adversity, so is God. He will use it to teach me to live more wisely, even joyfully. Adversity may be a reminder that I cannot control all things. It teaches me to appreciate times of prosperity. I think adversity teaches us improved stewardship of the life we live.
- Prosperity will come again, but not according to my timing.
- If I do not respond to adversity properly, it increases in nature and may be prolonged.
- I am not alone in this. All suffer adversity. Note to self: This test will give you a testimony; one day you will appreciate that truth. We may not always share our adversities with anyone, except with the Lord. He may never prompt me to tell anyone about it. Yet my faith – it grows.
- I tell myself that adversity is a gift. Myself is not buying that. Yet, I get on with working through the process of learning and healing as quickly as I can. Adversity can cause a downward spiral or it can strengthen and enhance. Life is about choices.
How do you deal with adversity? Depending on what type it is, here are some considerations:
Know the nature of your adversity. Pray for wisdom, perhaps talk to a wise friend.
Is there a remedy or action you can take to solve this issue?
Control your emotions or they will control you. If you feel like missing church because you are discouraged, get dressed and go! This is very important. Often, the very thing that will help us is the last thing we want to do. God will honour your faithfulness because he is: FAITHFUL AND TRUE. That is His name and it is His character. (Revelation 19:11). A PERSONAL STORY: I experienced one of those evenings about a year ago. I went to church. Much to my chagrin, a simple greeting from a pastor brought on a stream of tears. “No; I am not alright.” He has known me many years and never heard this response from me. Because he has known me, he did not pursue details. Because I knew him, I knew his family prays for me and that they surely stepped it up a bit. My strength is not small, according to Proverbs 24:10 I did not faint, but there was a bit of swooning. Why didn’t I take my own advice to seek wise counsel? I did not need counsel and talking about the situation would have been more painful. I did what was right for me. And it was right.
- Do something for someone else; we have all heard this, but have you tried it? Visit someone. Send a few cards out. In encouraging others – and I know you have heard me play this tune before – we get relief, however temporary it might be, from our own adversity. If we all did this, there is every likelihood that someone would unexpectedly turn up to cheer you without knowing you needed it. Serendipitous; don’t you think?
2. Music! Good, happy, Christian music. Many people turn to music to lift their spirits. Choosing the music of the world cannot be compared to the healing words found in the words of classic hymns. The combination of words set to music that might have been composed by a master, is experiencing true art. It is an experience. I encourage you to develop a taste for the hymns of the faith. Whether solemn or perky, good music elevates the spirit! Music stirs the soul, so guiding your preferences in the right direction is worth the effort.
3. Ladies, we can expect diversity without having a negative mindset. Expecting prosperity does not make us dreamers. Both are affirmed by God, with His intent and ability to use each for good. My suggestion is that you prepare for and expect adversity. Truly, we can and should prepare for prosperity too. It will come and we don’t want to miss how God intends to use that. I feel another “tea” brewing.
In pondering the realties of adversity and prosperity, a line from a famous poem came to mind, and I close today with that:
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same … from “IF” by Rudyard Kipling
Buy some new music! Two ideas: I am intrigued by a collection of songs I only recently heard of. I may need to add them to my arsenal. The group is called “Friends Singing the Gospel.” The “album” is called Then Sings my Soul and is sung by a large group of men closely associated with Faith Music Missions. You can just tell by the cover that they had fun producing it; a quick perusal of the song list confirms it. I think this collection has the ability to be comforting or celebratory.
The Second Idea: I can assure you that you will enjoy the music and vocals this one: India and Zachary gave me a CD for Christmas. it is lovely, but also contains a surprise! A song called “You are Mine.” It is a spoof of Song of Solomon. First time I heard it, I think I was shocked, last thing I expected, but it is funny. You can purchase it from FOREVER BE SURE MUSIC.