Adversity comes into each of our lives from time to time. It can enter through many doorways—the loss of a loved one, a failed business venture, illness, struggles over a lost relationship, or an unfulfilled expectation of a dream.
When we find ourselves in the midst of heartache, it is sometimes easy for us to become disillusioned with God and His care for us. After all, if God loves me like the Bible teaches, how could he allow this pain to enter my life?
Recently I’ve come to a new understanding of the term—authentic. A few synonyms that describe authentic are real, true, fact, not false, or imitation. The context of the word authentic relates to this definition, true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. So for us, being authentic means we are real with ourselves and others about who and where we are in our daily lives.
Authenticity is a rare thing in our world today. If we are honest with ourselves, we live most of our days trying to manage and protect our true selves from being known by the outside world. We have become so accomplished at this, often we do not even realize we are doing it. In the most severe cases, we actually fool ourselves that we are someone we are not.
Being authentic also means being real with God. I confess, sometimes I find myself trying to hide my true feelings from Him, as if He does not already know them. The Bible tells us, For He knows our frame, He remembers we are dust—Psalm 103:14. In the midst of hurt and pain it is easy to forget that God wants us to come to Him. We may even be afraid to. In fact He commands us, Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden…—Matthew 11.
- J.I. Packer has a great thought on this subject. He writes, There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me.
It takes a while for that to sink in. He made me, He knows me—yet he loves me! This is the incredible power of the gospel.
It is hard to realize that blessings often come through hardship. Struggles present us with opportunities to reevaluate our thinking and awaken us to the false idea that we have power and control over our lives. Extreme hardships can also help us have a fresh perspective on what matters most. They help us put a higher priority on things that are most precious in life. These are some of the treasures accompanied by adversity.
Do you find yourself in heartache today? Here are some things you may want to consider.
- Acknowledge the inner struggle and pain as an opportunity for growth. As hard as it may be, thank God for it. 1Thessalonians 5:18
- Be honest with God and with yourself about the pain. Psalm 22 (David’s pain)
- Ask him to help you see His heart for you. Psalm 119:18
- Acknowledge the smallest movement of your heart toward Him and thank Him for it. Isaiah 42:3
In today’s mixed up world, it is easy for us to look elsewhere for comfort when pain and hurt enter our lives. We are so easily drawn to quick fixes and mind numbing activities to help us escape our discomfort, only to learn in the end those things are powerless. It is my hope that we will remember to look to the One who readily awaits our cry in our time of need. Look to the One who is a very present help in the day of trouble. Jesus is our friend who sticks closer than a brother. He has secured and offers an eternity of hope for those who place their trust in Him. May we each turn to Him in our day of adversity.