Adversity

It is to a man’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. – Proverbs 20:3

Do you know how pearls are made? Pearls are made through suffering. The oyster gets a grain of sand stuck in its shell and it’s really uncomfortable; its sore and irritating and could cause serious damage, and so the oyster protects itself and covers the source of its suffering with layer upon layer of a protective mineral deposit called calcium carbonate, which over time forms into a round, smooth, translucent pearl.

“Many times adversity paves the way to success. [Some years ago] this was the case for a man whose small business was failing: ‘I was paying a sheriff five dollars a day to postpone a judgement on my small factory. Then came the gas man, and because I couldn’t pay his bill he promptly cut off my gas. I was in the midst of certain very important experiments, and to have the gas people plunge me into darkness made me so mad I at once began to read up on gas technique and economics, and resolved I would try to see if electricity couldn’t be made to replace gas and give those gas people a run for their money.’ That man was Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric. – Problems are wake-up calls for creativity. If you choose to wake up, and get up, problems will prompt you to use your God-given abilities, rally your resources and move forward.”

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 19/8/2019

When a Sunday school teacher asked a little girl, ‘Who made you?’ she replied, ‘God made part of me.’ The teacher asked, ‘What do you mean?’ The little girl replied, ‘God made me little… and I growed the rest myself.’ Friends, God holds us responsible for our personal growth.

Bob Gass

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 10/9/2018

Victory is only born out of struggle. Success cannot be achieved without experiencing adversity. Period! Think about this. When a sapling tree struggles to take root, and then sprout and fight its way through the hard compacted earth; overcoming stones and obstacles in its quest to reach the air and sunlight; when a sapling tree struggles against the wind and rain and storm and frost, when it encounters and overcomes the attacks of insects and birds who take a bite out of it; when it struggles through the scorching heat or recovers from a trampling foot and fights off the competition to survive and climb higher and higher, you can be sure of at least five things: 1) It’s core belief or root system will be strong. 2) Its character will be solid. 3) Its fruit will be sweet. 4) Its timber will be valued. And 5) it will provide strength, comfort, shelter and encouragement to others. Success cannot be achieved without experiencing adversity.

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him

Nahum 1:7

Trying to run or hide away from a problem only compounds the problem. The following tale demonstrates the point: Jimmy’s mother shouted up the stairs, “Come on, son, it’s time to get up and get ready for school.” But Jimmy pulled the duvet up over his head and ignored his mother’s calling. A few minutes later she knocked on his door and in a firmer voice she called out, “Come on. You’ve got to get up right now, otherwise you’ll be late!”

Jimmy replied from under the covers, “I’m not going to school. In fact, I’m never going again.”

“Don’t be silly,” said his mother, “You’ve got to go to school.”

“I’m NOT going!” was the response. “There are nearly a thousand kids in that school and they all hate me, every last one of them. Even the teachers and the caretaker hate me, and every day I end up in some sort of fight or conflict. So just give me one good reason why I should go.”

“I’ll do more than that,” said his mother. “I’ll give you two: “Firstly, because you are 42 years of age, and secondly, because you are the headmaster!”

Excerpt from Discover Your True Potential” by R. Ian Seymour

“Good Timber”

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
That stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king,
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To heaven from the common soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man,
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow in ease;
The stronger wind, the tougher trees;
The farther sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength;
By sun and cold, by rain and snows,
In tree or man, good timber grows.

Where thickest stands the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both;
And they hold converse with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife;
This is the common law of life.

by Douglas Malloch

“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands out in the open where it is compelled to struggle for existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”

Napoleon Hill

C. S. Lewis wrote: “My own experience is something like this. I am progressing along the path of life… when suddenly a stab of abdominal pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in a newspaper that threatens us all with destruction, sends this whole pack of cards tumbling down. At first I am overwhelmed… then, slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times… I remind myself that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ. And perhaps, by God’s grace, I succeed, and for a day or two become a creature consciously dependent on God and drawing its strength from the right sources. But the moment the threat is withdrawn my whole nature leaps back [again]… Thus the terrible necessity of [our trials and] tribulations is only too clear. God has had me for but forty-eight hours and then only by dint of taking everything else away from me.”

Source: Men’s Devotional Bible, p.183

The only way you’ll ever know that God is all you need is when God is all you’ve got.

The World’s Your Oyster


There was once an oyster whose story I tell,
That discovered sand had gotten under its shell.
But a single grain became the cause of such pain,
For oysters have feelings; of that, it’s quite plain.

Now, did the oyster berate the workings of Fate
Which had led it to such a deplorable state?
Did it curse the government or call for an election,
Did it cry that the sea should have given it protection?

No! As it lay with the others on the ocean shelf
The oyster clamped shut and said to itself,
If it’s not possible for me to get out and remove it,
Then, I’ll do my best to get on and improve it.

So the years rolled by as years always do,
And the oyster was caught by a fishing crew.
Now that small grain of sand, which had bothered it so,
Had become a beautiful pearl translucent, aglow.

This tale has a moral to it; for isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do with a grain of sand?
And now what could we do if only we’d begin
With all the things that get under our skin?

Anon

“Storms make trees take deeper root.”

George Herbert (1593-1633), English poet.

First crucified then sanctified.

Cast all you anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

‘Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders – he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.’

Psalm 55:22, MSG

Victory comes through surrender.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

I love a good ‘cops and robbers’ TV show. Whenever the police are closing in on the bad guys, they yell, ‘Freeze! Drop the weapon and put your hands in the air!’ That’s kind of what happens when we follow Jesus. He doesn’t yell at us saying, ‘Freeze! Drop your weapon…’ But in a way, he does say, ‘Stop! I want to take your life in a new direction. Drop everything you’re holding onto, lift your hands, and surrender to me.’

Source: unknown – cited in Daily Bread devotional on YouVersion

Life is like an ice-cream cone; just when you think you’ve got it licked, it goes and drips all over you.

Anon.

“Life is tough! There is no such thing as the easy life and the sooner we accept this fact, the easier and happier life becomes.

R. Ian Seymour

The ABC of personal growth: Adversity Builds Character.

“The only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it.”

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955), writer and lecturer

After a big argument, a couple were driving along in silence when they passed a field filled with mules and donkeys. “Relatives of yours?” he asked. “Yes,” she replied, “in-laws!”

“The best words for resolving a disagreement are, ‘I could be wrong, I often am, and it’s true.”

Brian Tracy

Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.

Proverbs 26:17