The Advantage of Adversity

The old saying goes, “Live and learn.”

I have found that isn’t necessarily true. There was a friend in college who just didn’t really understand the purpose of the speed limit. Not understanding the speed limit in Wisconsin in those days was costly. He was winging his way through Wisconsin one year with some friends he was dropping off in Chicago when the Wisconsin State Police pulled him over to educate him on the purpose of the speed limit.

The rule in Wisconsin was you pay the fine right then or you go to jail… right then. Six college students in the van, so of course they didn’t have enough money to pay the fine between them. All six were sitting in the county jail because the van couldn’t go anywhere. One of the students called his dad to get the money. The dad agreed to wire the money and said to his son (about our mutual friend), “Well, live and learn.”

To which the student said (about our mutual friend), “Well, he’s living, but I don’t think he’s learning.”

So, “live and learn” is not a hard and fast rule. However, it is a good general rule. Or, it should be. Life teaches us lessons. It can’t all be good. We want it to be all good, but it’s not always the case. The key to is to learn in any situation.

We would prefer, in our culture, not to have the adversity. We would like to drug our way out of any painful scenario. We would, quite frankly, like to pray our way out of any painful scenario. (Having battled the flu the last few days, I can attest to this statement.)

But tests come. Hard times happen.

Do we gripe? Do we moan, “Why me?”

Do we accept it as fate?

Do we learn?

When it comes to our faith, we need testing. One of the key teachings I try to bring to my church on a consistent basis is the need to understand what it is to live our faith in a world where WE are the minority. In America we have been blessed to be the majority. But it has made us lazy. We don’t know tested faith very well. And when tests come, it causes a lot of people to fold up and go home quickly.

We need a faith than endures. That faith comes through testing. It’s not comfortable. It’s not all thrills. It’s just life.

2 My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. 3 After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, CEB)

Take the advantage of adversity and use it to grow!

 

NOTE: I am continuing on the Common English Bible Blog Tour. I have been given permission to give copies away of the CEB. It will be a soft cover standard CEB (meaning no Apocrypha). If you would like a chance to win, simply COMMENT on my blog posts at some time. If I get enough comments, I will pick a winner every week through January. (Link this in your Facebook or on your blog to get more people active, so I can have some numbers to choose from!)

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