Setbacks and Adversity

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

Life is filled with setbacks and adversity. Some are hard, some are easy, but we must always be prepared for them. I have lived through many thus far. I recall one as a junior in a high school regional championship baseball game. I played right field, and this game was especially important because it would send our team to the state tournament. The game was played right at dusk. During our practice warm ups there was a major problem. With the lights and color of the clouds I could not see the ball in the air. The coach would hit the ball, and I generally could tell how it left the bat but could not see the ball in the air until the very last second. It made me mighty nervous, because of the importance of the game I did not want to screw anything up for the seniors on the team. I didn’t say anything to anyone about not being able to see the ball, but it did prompt me to be extra focused through this extreme nervousness.

So the game started, and of course the very first batter hits a fly ball in my direction. I was already nervous because of the warmups. But this time the ball looked like a white laser beam in the sky, there was no problem seeing it. I let out a sigh of relief and ran to catch it which was routine, I thought “no problem”. As I got near to catch the ball, I opened my glove as I did a thousand times before, the ball came and in an instant it popped right out. The batter seeing this made it all the way to third base. I wanted to crawl under a rock. My worst fear was realized, a major setback. I can still see our pitcher just glaring out at me with the look of “what in the world are you doing?”. On the very next pitch to the second batter, the runner who got to third based on my error, was then thrown out. I let out another sigh of relief, no harm came from my stupid mistake. We went on to win the game and went to the state tournament.

If you played sports like this, you understand that setbacks happen in a flash, and the adversity can be a roller coaster. In life, they happen as fast at time or they can be painfully slow. Life is going good, and then bad news comes. Adversity can drain the very life out of you.

Solomon writes “a friend loves at all times”. I can think of a friend like this, and for me it was my dogs Stu, Leo, and now my dog Joby. They truly loved me at all times, good or bad. And it is that type of love which will help you get through the setbacks in life and God will work on you to see the hope from that love. With Leo, I experienced much adversity through his cancer. God taught me to hope and to trust in Him while life seemed to be spinning out of control. I was given by His love the hope to carry on after Leo’s death.

And how do you know that you truly love another? If you can imagine life without the person, you probably don’t truly love them. My answer is if you can’t imagine your life without that person, this would be what I would call “true love”. This is the epitome of God’s love. He loves His children with true love, that He could not imagine life without you. Really contemplate on this. Thus He sent His Son Jesus Christ to the Cross to redeem you from your sins. No greater love, and despite anything you do matter always to the Creator, the Almighty God!

When we have a setback in life, and if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, just know you have a “friend who loves you at all times and a brother who was born for adversity”. So with that understanding of His love for you, hope will follow. Setbacks are just bumps on the road to hope, they happen NOT because God is punishing you, but because He is growing hope in you. He tests our resolve to grow us in faith, trust, and hope in Him.

So if you have some religious zealot ever try to tell you that the horrible circumstance you are going through is because “God is punishing you for your sins”, they could not be more wrong. If God wanted to punish you, you would have no hope left. So if you haven’t done so, place your faith in Him today! God gives an abundant amount of hope, just ask Him and He will provide it free of charge. He is right there with you in the adversity, just waiting for you to turn to Him. Things might seem bleak, the world might be turning upside down, but you will always have hope if you trust in Him!

And if God has blessed you in this life with those you can’t imagine living without, thank Him, because you just got a glimpse of God’s love for you!

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