I could name dozens of women who are walking through extremely tough things. Seasons of unending loneliness, the heartbreak of a prodigal child, the loss of a marriage, a husband's porn addiction, a child with a terminal illness . . . I could go on and probably you could too. In fact, you may be in one of those tragic circumstances right now.
You may be enduring a winter of suffering with no hope for spring. You may be there from no choice of your own and are facing loss because of the sinful path another has chosen. But no matter how you entered this season of adversity, you did not enter it alone and you do not walk it without purpose. You may see adversity as your greatest enemy, but I'm throwing out a different perspective.
Adversity is an unwelcome friend, but make no mistake, adversity is our friend.
That may sound like an oxymoron . . . a ridiculous assertion or perhaps a typo. You may be thinking I left out the word "not" or got confused and inserted the wrong phrase. But I didn't. Make no mistake, adversity is our friend. That's why James tells us to rejoice when we enter the winter of suffering:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2).
He goes on to describe the intended outcome of adversity—steadfastness and spiritual maturity. James also explains the difference between temptation and testing. Temptation never comes from God and is never for our benefit. Testing however, often in the form of adversity, is for the purpose of spiritual growth and ultimately for God's glory.
I love this promise for seasons of suffering:
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you (1 Pet. 5:10).
We miss the benefits of adversity when we fight against the process, harden our hearts, rail against God's intentions, or assume a victim mentality rather than living as a student of God's ways. Instead, God desires for us to come up closer to Him and to reach a new level of trusting Him.
What season of adversity are you facing right now, and what is God teaching you through the storm?