Lessons from 2020: Adversity Magnifies Blessings
The adage that “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is deeply rooted in our culture. The premise is true. It often takes loss to recognize blessings. Ingratitude is so deeply seated that we call this the “Entitlement Culture”. Children are raised to believe that society owes them an education, a living wage and everything else they desire without effort, without expense and without expressing gratitude. Loss and adversity run counter to these ideals. Sadly, we take so much for granted that the most insignificant of losses can shake us to the core.
Job is the go-to example of suffering through loss. Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong (Job 1:20-22 NKJV). Contrast this to the attitude of his wife who had suffered the same losses. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:9-10 NKJV). Why are we not willing to accept adversity?
Adversity is unpleasant. Loss is undesirable. Ironically, adversity and loss magnify appreciation for that which has been lost. Adversity and loss also magnify appreciation for blessings that remain. Whether or not we are willing to accept adversity depends upon our attitude toward God. The selfish mourn with anger and resentment. The godly mourn with gratitude and thanksgiving. Job’s perspective was one that recognized the temporary nature of this life. He arrived with nothing and did not anticipate taking anything from this world with him at death. We are but stewards of possessions here including the mortal body which houses our spirit.
The evidence that God exists is obvious. Those who refuse to believe the evidence soon retreat into the darkness of denial and ingratitude. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:20-21 NKJV).
Christians are not immune to the effects of adversity. Despite our belief in and appreciation for God, it still takes effort to respond appropriately. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (Philippians 4:6 NKJV). And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful (Colossians 3:15 NKJV).
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations (Psalms 100:1-5 NKJV).
Believe in God. Praise Him. Pray to Him. Be thankful.