Understanding Suffering and Adversity (Petersen Ch 9 & 10)


I remember my freshman year at college. I was in a completely different environment. All my great friends weren’t around. My spiritual connecting points of my Bible study group and youth group were gone. It was a spiritual wasteland. I wasn’t finding others who believed as I did. I really struggled. I was lonely.
As I went through this hard time God gave me something from his word, James 1:2-8. I memorized in the Phillips translation…when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Those words still speak to me today. When trials do come I usually fight them and attempt to reject them. Phillips pushes us with his translation…welcome them as friends. Once I get to the point of welcoming difficulties I begin to deal with hard things correctly. Unfortunately for us, we usually try to avoid facing difficulties.
This very idea is what Petersen emphasizes in ch 10. Our response to adversity he says is “I can flee it or I can embrace it.” This very little step takes such courage and faith! Some days it takes everything we have in us to choose to embrace our difficult situation.
Here’s one last thought on the sources of pain. Petersen has a good list on page 133 in the 4th paragraph. I would add the list I heard a long time ago on a radio ministry. Adversity comes from three sources: my own sin, the world and Satan. These three sources impact us.
May God grant us the power to embrace life’s difficulties with faith and courage. If you read this be the first to contact me for a gift.

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