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What We Learn from Adversities

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Adversity: Definitions

Everyone faces adversity, and it can affect all areas of a person's life. What, then, is an adversity? It is an adverse thing that happens to you. It is a misfortune or a condition marked by calamity, difficulties, or distress. It can also be described as an unfortunate event or circumstance or even a tragedy.

Some synonyms include the followings:

  • misfortune
  • bad luck
  • trouble
  • a difficulty
  • hardship
  • distress
  • disaster
  • sorrow
  • misery
  • trial
  • tribulation
  • woe
  • pain
  • trauma

Adversities Are Teaching Tools

No one likes to have adversities in their lives. However, they do serve a purpose. Adversities carry with them the opportunities to grow beyond what we thought was ever possible. They help us to realize just how much we can bear.

People should have faith to believe that there is always hope within and beyond adversities. So, what do adversities teach us?


Adversities teach us to practice submission. They are those unpleasant rites of passages that help us grow and develop. If we remain true to God during those trying times, then we will come through with a better understanding how adversities are helpful to strengthen us instead of weakening us.

If we never had adversities to deal with, we will never know how they will build our character. It is so easy to praise the Lord when times are good, but what do you do in times of adversities?

When we realize only God can help us, we allow adversities to teach us to rely totally on Him. It is at those times in our lives when we learn to trust God beyond our usual understanding of Him.

No one wants to deliberately experience adversities. When they do occur, they can be teaching tools. When you realize the value of adversities, then you will be able to say what the psalmist said in Psalm 31:7.

"I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities."

What the Bible Says About Adversity

The Bible says some surprising things about adversities. In James 1:2-4, we are told:

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Paul gives a similar view about adversity in Romans 5:3-6.

“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Both James and Paul knew that all adversity works together for our good and for God’s glory.


What Else Do Adversities Do?

People are encouraged to think about the other things adversities will do.

  • We learn more about what God will do during times of adversity.
  • Adversities get our attention and force us to trust God to provide the help we need.
  • We rely on God and trust Him more if we did not have adversities.
  • Adversities remind us of our weaknesses proving to us that we cannot handle things without God.
  • Adversities motivate us to cry out to God.
  • God uses adversities to help us grow spiritually.
  • Adversities call us to examine ourselves and re-evaluate our priorities.
  • Adversities are evidence of spiritual warfare going on in some area of our lives.
  • Adversities test our faith and our patience.
  • We can experience the power of God through adversities.
  • One of the ultimate purposes of adversity is to cause us draw closer to God.
  • Troubles reveal that on our own we can’t live in a way that honors God. We need to rely on God and receive His grace.
  • One of the most valuable results of adversity is that through it we receive God’s comfort, which we are then able to comfort others who face similar troubles.

How to Overcome Adversities

There is a purpose for adversities. Look at your adversity as an opportunity to grow and live up to a higher potential than you have ever known. In other words, let your bad situation make you a better person.

Be Positive
Change your brain's roadmap. Instead of thinking negative things during adversities, think about how you can use them in a positive way.

Review Your Priorities
Now that adversities have gotten your attention, review your priorities and focus on what is important in your life. You may need to reset your life and do things differently to lower the risk of adversities showing up in your life again.

Know You Are Not Alone
During times of adversities, know that you are not alone. You are not the only or the first one to encounter adversities and you won't be the last one. In fact, it might not be the last time you will have to face adversities again.

Be Vulnerable
Allow yourself to be vulnerable and allow trusted people to help you. Confide in God. Psalm 9 reminds us that God doesn’t abandon those who search for him.

Be Patient
Things will happen when the timing is right. Just because you think you are ready, you might not be. Besides, it doesn’t mean God is ready when you are.

Have Faith
If your heart, mind, soul, and actions are in the right place, have faith that you will come out of adversities a stronger person than before.


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