One of the areas that myself and I know many others struggle with is dealing with adversity. I have read and been told numerous times that the difference between significance in life and mediocrity is how we deal with adversity and setbacks.
Adversity comes in two forms: Self Imposed and Unexpected Adversity.
Self imposed is simply adversity that comes from the decisions or lack thereof that we choose in our lives. If you choose to cheat on your spouse or steal from your job, obviously you created this situation and you ultimately must take the blame. It takes a certain level of maturity to take responsibility for ones actions and unfortunately I have met some adults that never reach this level.
But sometimes everything is going the right way and then out of nowhere BLAM! Something hits our life that causes adversity. It could be financial, marital, problems at work, spiritual, you name it.
Myself and some colleagues have been dealing with this during the past 4 months. We attended a course and from the beginning most of the instructors had little to no experience on the subject and could not answer many of our questions. We protested this and it lead to undue attention on our cohort and further that we were trouble makers.
We come from an area in the military where you must be tactically and technically proficient in your skill set or you are sent packing. To put it bluntly, we don't deal with BS well and that is what these people were trying to do to us.
So for four months we walked around with what seemed like a bullseye on our backs and constant reports that we were acting up and being unprofessional. When we asked for specifics, none were given just rumors and hearsay. It became very unnerving.
Many times in life these unseen adversities pop up and how we deal with them ultimately determines our stress level and happiness. Sometimes these adversities are short term; a tree falls on your car, your HVAC system in your house goes out and needs to be completely replaced.
Other times though, it seems like a black cloud or season of adversity comes over your life and you cannot figure out why?
We often ask: Why me? What's Next? Why Now?
We can go to counseling or read the bible or a book and get the exact answer on what we need to do but it does not change our emotional feelings of why we are in this place and the emotional struggles we are dealing with.
We can try to hide in our work, our family or other activities but when our mind wanders, it wanders to this adversity.
What I think is that God sometimes places this adversity in our lives to teach us a lesson and help us grow. Quickly skim through this commentary on 1 Samuel 22.
At this point David had been anointed, he received some fame from slaying Goliath and recently had been married. David was getting more military recognition than King Saul and things were going his way.
Then King Saul gets jealous and attempts multiple times to kill David so David realizes it's time to get out of dodge. He goes to Gath and then realizes that these are his enemies and has to get out of Gath as well.
In the cave in Adullam, David waits and prays for answers from God. However, David was supposed to be king, he was popular and famous and had things all going in his favor. Now, he is stuck in a dark, cold place and cannot seem to see the light or the bright future that God has in store for him.
When adversity hits us and we end up in our own Cave of Adullam, how do we deal with it? Do we question God's actions and ask why?
Never question in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.
One thing I have learned in my short life is that I learn more through adversity and struggle than I do from victory and smooth sailing. I believe that in order to get to the next level in life, faith, business, relationships, etc. You must pay your dues and learn the lesson that graduates you to the next level.
"In unseen but powerful ways, God is engraving truths using circumstances as a plow to plant truths in you that are required for you to go to the next level."
Read that again slowly.
When David was in Adullam he could not see the palace and Gods plan for him in the future. God had something great in store for David but first he needed to build him up in preparation for the future. His character needed building.
Adversity is not punishment but preparation.
God has something wonderful in store for us but first he needs to build us up to prepare us for our future. Some of your darkest days end up to be your greatest learning points and turning points in our lives. I know this is true for me.
Again, how we respond to this adversity is absolutely crucial in whether we learn the lesson or we have to take the lesson over. Believe me, times in my life God has put a lesson in front of me and I did not learn it so later on down the road I got to go through the same lesson again.
I once had a CEO tell me that success people are people who take calculated risks and often fail but when they fail, they learn the lesson and move on, not making the same mistake again.
Some people are not willing to learn the lesson. They respond with Blame, Jealously, Revenge, Pity or my personal favorite Isolation. I like to isolate myself in my work, reading or even this blog.
If we miss God's lesson we must repeat it. We must find God in this place and learn the lesson.
One of the books for my children during their Legacy Dad Process is It's Not What Happens to You, It's What You Do About It by W. Michell.
W. Mitchell had adversity after adversity thrown at him. He was burned and disfigured then a few years later paralyzed. Through it all he maintained a positive attitude and still went on to become a successful businessman and speaker.
Read Davids Prayer in Adullam Psalm 142.
David took his adversity and complaints to God, not his spouse, children or co-workers.
Who do we take are complaints and challenges to?
Never question in the darkness what God has shown us in the light.
We must find God in this place of adversity and learn the lesson to move on to the greater place God has for us.
Don't get stuck in mediocrity, with God's help we can find Significance.
-Esse Quam Videri-