Adversity: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.
My track coach, Mr. Bud, would often say that “adversity develops character,” as he urged us to dig deeper, persevere through the pain, strive to be better than I was yesterday. I believed coach; moreover, I knew that he believed in me. Because of this, I worked harder each day to be the best I could be both on and off the track.
As I grew older, the quote changed to “adversity reveals character,” a truth that became evident the more people I met, from all walks of life. Adversity does reveal character; mine, yours, theirs, whether good, bad, or ugly.
Fortunately, if we’re unhappy with or embarrassed by the character adversity has revealed, we can change that. A healthy character can be developed, it will require patience, perseverance, and pain, much like the pain a bodybuilder endures to increase his or her strength. These athletes know that it takes daily dedication and diligence that will test their physical strength as well as their mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. It will require believing in yourself and challenging yourself to become the man or woman who can be trusted and relied upon, even in tough times like these.
I like the way the Message describes this process in Romans 5: 3-5; “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Forges the tempered steel of virtue, forged in the fire of adversity, shaping us into the image of Christ. If we allow, God will use today’s adversity to develop tomorrow’s strength. Strength to overcome anything this world throws at us and then some. God isn’t stingy when it comes to fulfilling his promises. “He will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3: 20
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