Responding to Adversity

In difficult circumstances, those who call on the Lord discover He is all they really need.

2 Corinthians 12:6-12

If you’ve ever had a splinter in your finger or a pebble in your shoe, you know how bothersome the pain can be. Not all our problems are that little or so easily removed. Sometimes they accompany us all our years and can seem unbearable. Circumstances may not be in our control, but our response is. We can become anxious and walk away from God—or we can trust Him to help us.

Paul had a “splinter” in his life. We’re not told what (or who) the painful aggravation was, but it tormented and humbled him. He prayed three times for it to be removed, but God promised only grace, explaining that His power is perfected in weakness.

When our strength is lacking, we begin to discover God is enough. We can brave hardship and sorrow because the Almighty is with us, promising “our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). In suffering, we grow closer to Him, and “endurance [has] its perfect result, so that [we] may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).

Paul embraced that response. Whether in feast or famine and even when insulted and persecuted for the sake of Christ, the apostle rejoiced in his weakness because he’d learned the secret of contentment: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13). That can be true of us, too.