No one likes it when bad things happen…flat tires, bouts of the flu, hurt feelings, news of someone losing a baby. We often wish that we could get some kind of guarantee from God that those things will never enter our lives. They disturb us; they put life all out of order! I have just come through a season of sickness wondering if I would ever make it out of it. It has lingered on for months. After months of doctor visits and three rounds of antibiotics, I was sent for a CT scan where the doctor was looking for a pulmonary embolism. Thankfully we did not find that, but I did discover that I had pneumonia. The proper medication was prescribed and I have passed through that season. I definitely don’t want to go through all that again.
If God were to grant our requests of no adversity, He would be doing us a great disfavor. Not to have problems would become our greatest problem. Most of my growing in the knowledge and appreciation of God comes when I work through adverse situations and trouble.
This is illustrated in nature in the formation of crystals. Crystals are what make up our most valuable minerals and precious stones. Every different mineral and gem has its own specific shape and appearance. Each one is made up of a great number of atoms or molecules stacked up by the laws of nature in perfect order. Occasionally one of those atoms gets out of line. Surprisingly, the most important properties of a crystal result from the few odd places where the structure appears to go wrong. Most gems owe their brilliant colors and beauty to these imperfections.
Adversity or things out of order have similar value in our Christian development. Without problems, we tend to forget all about God. Without trouble, we miss the opportunity to perfect some of the rough aspects of our lives and grow into spiritual beauty. Without disappointment, we are inclined to forget to praise Him for His goodness. God has a way of chiseling away the fat and what is left is spiritual muscle that gives us character. He fixes us; He solidifies us. We become strong in our convictions and our relationship with God if our attitude is right. He strengthens us.
We are a peculiar people zealous unto good works. That’s the key. I want you to remember that word. When we think of peculiar we think of someone who is just a little odd or a little strange because that’s the English translation of the word. And in one sense of the word, that’s what it means. God’s people ought to be a little peculiar. Do you know what that word peculiar really means? It comes from a compound word in the original language. One of the words means “to be around” and the other means “to be.” To depict that word peculiar, you have to see a dot that is encompassed or monopolized by a circle. The circle completely encompasses and encloses the dot. That is a figurative description of the meaning of the word peculiar. It’s just a little insignificant dot completely encompassed by the wider circle.
Now when you begin to see your life in relation to that particular word, you will be able to realize that nothing can come to you until it has first passed through the circle…and the circle is God. So, by the time the adversity gets to you, God has allowed it, so it’s going to be His will for your life. He knows you are incapable of handling the demands of these situations on your own, so He’s going to move in and sustain and strengthen you when you place your faith and trust in Him. We belong to God. By the time it gets to us, God says, “Child it’s for you.” It’s also a place of protection…nothing can get to you unless the Father has allowed it. God is able to protect you so that you may be able to bear trials.