DAILY LIVING IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY



Some time back, we took a look at what it meant to be Facing Adversity with Jesus. We saw that the best way we should face adversity is to stand with Jesus, hold His line and follow His lead. For indeed, just as He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, standing in front of His disciples, in the face of the soldiers, using Himself as a shield; so too is He standing in front of us, between us and all that would come against us, using Himself as a shield, protecting us and bearing the brunt of the waves that ought to be crashing down on us.

Today, I would like to take a less philosophical view on facing adversity and look at how, in practice, we should live out a life of standing by Jesus and standing with Jesus in the face of our adversity; and we begin with the premise on which our faith is built.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]

This is one of the staple verses of this ministry and there is good reason for it. In order for us to have faith in our Father’s love; indeed, in order for us to have faith that our Father loves us at all; our faith needs to be built on a foundation, and that foundation is the fact that our Father has unequivocally said that He has a plan for us, and His plan is to prosper us, protect us, give us a hope and a future.

And we can take our Father at His word, for it is written,

“God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19 [AMP]

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Indeed, all that our Father has spoken in the Bible has come true. And even if you still think that the Bible is nothing more than a large collection of fairy tales, your own experience bears testament to the fact that there is Someone loving you, watching out for you, giving you the breaks and keeping you from harm; or did you actually think that that little voice that guides you along each day is really nothing more than ‘mini-you’?

But more than mere comfort, the context of Jeremiah 29 gives us concrete steps on how we should live, day by day, as we stand by Jesus and with Jesus in the face of our adversity.

You see, in Jeremiah 29, Israel had been brought into exile by the King of Babylon because of their disobedience. Now, arguably, they brought this fate upon themselves because, in the words of our Father,

“So don’t for a minute listen to all your prophets and spiritualists and fortunetellers, who claim to know the future and who tell you not to give in to the king of Babylon. They’re handing you a line of lies, barefaced lies, that will end up putting you in exile far from home. I myself will drive you out of your lands, and that’ll be the end of you.” Jeremiah 27:9-10 [MSG]

They had turned away from God and trusted in the words of man. They had become haughty and full of themselves; in some sense, their success had gone to their heads. So in order that they may learn humility, our Father allowed them to be taken.

Now, yes, in much the same way, sometimes our Father allows us to go through adversity because not only does He want to prove to others of what mettle we are made,

“In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7 [AMP]

He also wants us to realize that there are things about ourselves that we need to change. And so He allows the experience so that we may receive correction.

Yet, whether it be to prove our mettle or to guide us and mold us according to His will, He never leaves us through the journey and tells us that while we are living through the adversity, we should live life as we normally would, and there are three areas which He specifically mentions;

“Here is what Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el, says to all those in exile, whom I have caused to be carried off captive from Yerushalayim to Bavel: ‘Build yourselves houses, and live in them. Plant gardens, and eat what they produce.” Jeremiah 29:4-5 [CJB]

The first thing we should do is to continue in our business and with our business. Continue to be productive. Continue to do what we were called to do, what we were skilled to do and enjoy the fruits which our work afford us. In short, life goes on.

The next area in which we are to ensure that life goes on is in the family.

“Choose women to marry, and have sons and daughters. Choose wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage to men, so that they can have sons and daughters — increase your numbers there, don’t decrease.” Jeremiah 29:6 [CJB]

Our Father tells us that we should continue to make plans for the family. Just because there is adversity right now, that does not mean that our family life should take a back seat. Carry on with your plans because He assures us that we will increase in number.

“Seek the welfare of the city to which I have caused you to go in exile, and pray to Adonai on its behalf; for your welfare is bound up in its welfare.’” Jeremiah 29:7 [CJB]

And finally, we are to desire benefit and blessing for the place in which we are in. Now this may seem like a strange thing to do, but there is method to this seeming madness and we will see why shortly. So what does this all mean for you?

Well, if you find yourself stuck in a rut, if you find yourself stuck in an office where you are under-appreciated, over-worked and unnecessarily criticized, first things first, continue the good work which you have been doing. Don’t give them cause to put justification to their accusations. Don’t help them build a case against you. Instead, the more good you do, the less they will be able to criticize you, the sillier they will look, the better a testimony you will be, and this is my favorite part,

“For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head,
And the Lord will reward you.” Proverbs 25:22 [AMP]

And if you are already planning for a family and along the way you meet with some challenges, don’t cancel your plans. Work within your current means, naturally; that is only responsible and prudent; but don’t cancel your plans. For when you finally cross over to the other side, you will show how good your God is, just because you had faith enough in Him not to cancel your plans.

And finally, for the organization that you are in, pray for its prosperity and work for its benefit, for indeed, till the day you leave that company, your fate is still intertwined with it. If it goes bust, you go bust; if it suffers disrepute, you suffer disrepute. I mean, think about it, would you hire an accountant from a company who just got charged for accounting fraud, even though that particular accountant had nothing to do with it? And anyway, what’s the worst that could happen to you? Your bosses continue to prosper while they level false accusations at you. What of it? What can mere words do to you when Jesus said,

“I tell you, as friends of mine, that you need not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but afterwards cannot do anything more.” Luke 12:4 [PHILLIPS]

We need not even be afraid of those that can kill our bodies, much less those who only have empty words.

In my life, I have had my run-ins with management. For those who have been established in their ways, they find change difficult to accept. So in order to stop me from making change, unfounded labels and accusations are leveled. Yet, by His grace, the methods I have been led to use have always borne fruit and in the end, by His protection, critics have always been silenced.

And you too can have confidence that you will also receive such a deliverance because the God, who tells you to carry on with life as you would, is not just God (Elohim), not just the Lord (Adonai); not that these personas would not be sufficient; but He is the “God-of-the-Angel-Armies” (Jeremiah 29:4 [MSG]) (Adonai-Tzva’ot Jeremiah 29:4-5 [CJB]).

There is significance to the name which our Father chooses to use, and those of us who wear multiple hats will understand this best. Our title affords us power, influence and control over those very aspects from which it is derived. For example, the President, as powerful as he is, cannot control the army if he is not also Commander-in-Chief; the Prime Minister, even though he is the boss of the Minister of the Treasury, cannot sign off on the new economic bill. Only the minister can.

So by using the title Adonai-Tzva’ot, our Father is telling you to carry on with your life because Him and His army is moving for you right now. You need never fear because Him and His army is warring for you right now. And best of all, you can rest because Him and His army is standing watch over you right now.

And the best bit is, the most comforting bit is, our adversity will not last forever.

“For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:10-11

Just like Israel, our adversity will last for but a season. While we may not know when that season will end, we know that with every sunrise, we are a day closer to our deliverance; and while we are on the way, we have Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Angel Armies standing watch over us, fighting our battles for us.

So beloved, in the face of your adversity, stand with Jesus, stand by Jesus, for He stands before you weathering the storm. And at the same time, carry on with your life, carry on the good work that you are doing, carry on with your plans in the same way that you otherwise would and let our Father and His army fight your battles for you.

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