By Leslie A. Crabtree
At one point in my life I was steeped in controversy caused by situations beyond my control. Every time I thought the conflict was resolved, something new happened. When it was over, I miscarried.
Over time the Lord brought healing to my life. As I reflect on the trial, I see some things the Lord taught me about how to handle adversity.
1. Read the Word a lot and out loud. Psalms which speak of God’s protection against the wicked are powerful (Psalms 35, 37, 119:153-160). Let His Word speak to your heart. When nothing seems to speak to
you, keep reading.
2. Keep a journal. As the Lord speaks you through His Word, a sermon, song, worship, and people, record that He is teaching you. As you read your journal, you can see His faithfulness.
Also record what you are experiencing. Often during a trial you repeatedly replay the tape of the trial in your mind. If you commit it to paper, your mind is cleared to think of other things.
3. Share your burden with others. Associate with people who will minister to you. Avoid people who offer simplistic solutions and platitudes. Also avoid people who want to know every detail of the situation or people who will burden you with their problems. You need three types of people. First, you need prayer warriors-people who know how to pray even though they don’t know the entire situation, Second,
gather around those who will hug you. Often you don’t need anyone to talk to. Rather, you need human contact and gentle touches. And finally you need people who can help you face the situation without doing
further damage. These people can tell you to get out of your pity party, if it has gone too far. Or they can hold you accountable for things like reading the Bible and going to church.
4. Share your deepest emotions, hurts, and feelings with God. He is big enough to handle them. Since God became man and because you are created in is image, He understands the emotions within you (Hebrews
2:17). He loves you unconditionally and accepts your emotional outbursts. Let Him see all of you since He already knows what is upon your heart before you even speak it (Psalm 39:4).
5. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t pray. There may be times when the burden becomes so heavy you can’t even speak it before God without falling apart. Weep before Him. Let Him see your grieving heart. Let the Holy Spirit groan for you (Romans 8:26).
6. Have prayer partners. When people want to pray with you, ask them to pray that you may have God’s wisdom to handle the situation.
7. Occupy yourself. Too much free time allows you to dwell on the problem. The trial may be so difficult you can’t effectively meditate on God; but you keep busy, you keep your mind occupied. Catch up on
some light reading or take up a new hobby.
8. Keep going to church. Encouragement comes from the preaching of the Word and from brothers and sisters of like faith. Worship helps your spirit to be tuned to God’s and opens your heart to be able to
receive God’s love.
9. Keep up your normal routine. It is possible to feel absolutely miserable and still do things like grocery shopping, laundry, going to work, and cooking meals. When your world seems to have turned upside
down, the normal routine can give the world some sense of order.
10. Get plenty of rest and exercise. Stress and emotional upheaval can be taxing on the body. By taking care of your body you will have strength to keep going through the trial. Even if you cannot sleep, try to rest. Relax by drinking herbal tea or warm milk, or taking a warm bath, or curling up under a quilt and listening to soft music. If you feel like sleeping all the time, force yourself to get up. Limit yourself to 8 hours of sleep a night and avoid naps.
Exercise helps you not only feel more energetic, but it also aids your sleep by releasing some of the stress.
11. Focus on the positive. Think about things you can be thankful for. Thank God for the food you eat, the rising sun, His beauty in nature.
12. List the positive attributes of God and read them repeatedly. As you read Psalms, for example, note what is said about God’s character. He is the strength of your heart and your portion forever (Psalm
73:26). He made “the dawn and the sunset shout for joy” (Psalm 65:8)”. He is your rock, fortress (Psalm 71:3), and strong refuge (Psalm 71:7). It is He who “heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds”
13. Listen to worship songs. Choose those that focus on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This draws your spirit toward God’s.
14. Exist on the knowledge of God’s promises even if you don’t feel anything. He will never leave you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5). Don’t doubt your salvation.
Some of your greatest lessons in the Lord and in life will be learned through adversity. Just as it takes intense heat to refine gold, so you too may have to face the refining fires for the Lord to develop you as
He wants (1 Peter 1:6,7).
(The above information was published by the PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, January 1990)
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