If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10)
Adversity is a mirror. It’s a microscope. It’s the scalpel that opens us up and shows us what’s inside. Adversity, pain, and trials are what shake us.
When things are comfortable, we’re like a tranquil pond. Lilly pads quietly float atop the crystalline water below. Things are good. But then, the rocks of trial come hurdling down. Our water gets stirred up and the silt explodes into an inky cloud. Our once-pure pond is ruined! All of the gunk that’s lain silent is riled up and exposed. Suddenly, we discover facets, depths, and wrinkles in our hearts we’d never known were there. Maybe anger or resentment. Maybe greed or lust. Or any other number of things that come crawling out when the pressure’s on.
In trial, we find out who we really are, what’s really inside of us (Proverbs 17:3). In times like those, we have two choices: faint or faith.
We faint when we’re overwhelmed, when we’ve built the structure of our lives upon the sand. Finances can be shaken and shattered. Health can be gone before we finish crossing the street. Relationships can vanish with the wind—sweet for a moment, bitter the next. The problem is that the junk at the bottom of our pond is often the foundation we’ve built our security upon. But it shifts and shivers and shakes when adversity comes.
We faint when we’ve nothing left to stand on. We faint when our faith has been entrusted in ourselves, our bank accounts, our relationships, our still beating heart—really, our anything… But we learn from Jesus that the wise man built his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-27), and when the storm came, it stood. He weathered the hurricane because he’d entrusted the very foundation of his life, his family, and his hope to the great rock. Jesus is that rock. Our identity, value, and worth are both found and secured in him.
Adversity is painful. It is daunting. It is uncomfortable. But we shouldn’t spend our lives running from it.
If we want to grow, this is the path to sunlight. If we want a pure faith, this is the filter. If we want to be deepened, welcome to the dredge. Remember that adversity is the Great Gardener’s pruning, and faith in his ability and intention to care for us is our only strength in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Remember, Jesus was made perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10). Why should we think it will be any different for us? Should we really want it to be? Press into faith and stand in your days of adversity.