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Adversity--Is It Good?

Each of us will agree that we live in a world that experiences a certain amount of difficulty. But how shall we understand and even appreciate these difficulties? I’m aware of the conversations which go on between people as they attempt to understand the problems of life. Considering these times of the well-known assaults upon the peace and happiness of society including terrorism, earthquakes, famine, war, privation and other non-salutary things which break upon us—considering these times, people attempt to come up with an explanation or at least a rationalization.

In this regard, I’ve heard many people say that times of oppression such as many are experiencing in our world are probably good, in that they will produce new attitudes on the part of people, including perhaps repentance. “Maybe persecution would be a good thing,” say many Christians “because persecution would bring the Church back to the place of purity and fidelity and be a cleansing agent in the lives of people.”

Perhaps this is true and perhaps it isn’t. It was Fulton Sheen who addressed himself to this question when he said, “Calamity, war, famine, plague, death, adversity, disease, injury do not necessarily produce repentance. We may become better in a calamity but it does not necessarily make us repent. The essence of repentance is that we cannot be repentant until we confront our own self-righteousness with God’s righteousness.” Now here’s a perceptive proposition with which I happen to agree.

Many people are influenced, sometime profoundly influenced, by external pressures like say, getting caught after having committed a crime. They are often therefore sorry, sorry perhaps not because they have committed the crime, but sorry because they have been caught and perhaps even convicted in the process. These attitudes of regret are interesting, but they have nothing to do with faith which produces eternal life.

Calamities in life are something like the sunshine, they will harden certain hearts while at the same time soften others.

To discover ultimate reality, the needy soul must look into the pages of the Word of God where it discovers God’s attitude toward men. It is from the teaching of the Bible that we discover the awesome holiness of God and our total sinfulness. It is from the Bible that we learn that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and what we need is the righteousness of God. This righteousness comes, of course, only by faith in Jesus Christ and receiving Him and the finished work of the cross as the basis for our salvation. Then a person receives the gift of God which is everlasting life.

So, if out of the problems of life you are constrained to come to the Savior, that’s good, but problems or no problems, every person is commanded to believe the Gospel and accept Christ as Savior. In the light of this, the person with difficulties may be far better off than one who is constrained by nothing and therefore makes no move to know the Lord or to receive Christ. Thank God for life’s difficulties, but especially if they bring us to the Savior, so that we can know him as our very own. Let me therefore make a recommendation. This very day could be the greatest day of your life if you would say that wonderful “yes” to Jesus Christ. Behold, now is the accepted time. The Bible says “Today is the day of salvation.” Act upon that wonderful fact today.