Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. – Memoirs of a Geisha
Encouragement in Adversity
No one likes adversity.
At the very least adversity means hardship and trouble. At its worst it can mean pain and suffering, disappointment and heartbreak.
I’ve gone to great lengths to order my life so that it is adversity-free—planning my days and weeks, reading the how-to books, and listening to seasoned life veterans. I want a perfect life.
No one likes adversity.
The tearing away is painful.
Painful is digging a splinter from your finger. Even a big one.
The tearing away that comes from adversity is excruciating. At least that’s been my experience.
Perhaps because what is being torn away is in my grip like a vice. It’s three-nails a-fixed to my heart in preparation for hurricane-force-hardship.
White knuckles and clenched jaw hold on to what I am most certain should not be—will not be—torn away.
But He is most certain that it must be.
For my good and His glory He tears away. I am exposed and raw. Humiliated and heart-broken. Devastated. For my good and His glory.
For my good and His glory?
I don’t always see it that way. Anger. self-pity, bitterness, and blame shifting are just a few of the stones I throw at God and anyone else in my path as the winds of adversity blow.
In desperation I grab hold of anyone and anything to hide, to lick my wounds, and soothe the pain.
He removes them, too. For my good and His glory.
I confess that much of what has been torn away should have been. My eyes could not see, would not see, the shaky structure built on lies and shifting sand.
But what about the rest of it?
The other things are less understandable; seemingly good things torn away in an instant. Waking up to find that my carefully constructed life is not storm-proof shakes my faith.
And like one seeking a treasure the shaking sifts and separates to reveal the gold—my One Foundation. Tweet this
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 3:11
Our faith must be in the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2.
The One, Jesus, sees us as we are—imperfect—sinners—and loves us anyway.
On my own I am inadequate, imperfect, and unlovable. Acknowledging that is confession. But stopping there?
When I stop there and turn to my blueprint for constructing my life, by my design . . .
Every. Single. Time.
Stopping with the confession of who I really am only leads to despair. There is more to be done.
Lean in and learn.
As I sit and wait for the words, I decide to pour the last bit of coffee. I return to my still warm seat and find a text from a friend. She shares an excerpt from her devotional reading for the day:
I have planted longing for perfection in every human heart. This is a good desire, which I alone can fulfill. But most people seek this fulfillment in other people and earthly pleasures or achievements. Thus they create idols, before which they bow down. I will have no other god before Me! Make Me the deepest desire of your heart. Let Me fulfill your yearning for perfection. Exodus 20:3; Psalm 37:4 from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.
See what I mean? Ripping, tearing, stripping all but what cannot be torn away. Even writing these words on this page for you to read is
a little a lot of tearing-away for my perfectionist self. As I write I don’t always know exactly what to say or how to say it.
But He does.
For my good and His glory.
He knows me. He sees through my carefully constructed, perfect life and tears away what cannot be torn so I can know, too.
Only then can I clearly see. When I see I confess who I am and who He is; and then I repent of the towers and idols I have created, thinking they would weather the storms of adversity.
I fix my eyes on Him. He is perfect. He is my strong tower, my fortress.
He is the only thing that cannot be torn away from me.
Lord, tear away. Tear it all away until all I want is you.