The definitions of our personal character has a lot to do with the adversities we face in life. It’s a moment to rise to the challenge, to be mindful that God is our strength in times of weakness, and so much more. People that see it that way are sometimes call the “fire-putter-outers” in their workplaces. People who see things the other way, though, are tough to be around.
You see, it’s so tempting and easy to focus on adversity with a sense of dire straits, fear, and pessimism. Such attitudes are wildly contagious. Even the smallest, perhaps most trivial matters, and viewed with such filters with some folks. It seems, they believe the universe is out to destroy them.
The Filters With Which we View Adversity
I was reminded of the filters with which we might view adversity a few years back when one of my daughters fell ill. The sore throat and rugged fever were obvious signs that school was not in her agenda for the day. It was also no surprise to learn she tested positive for strep throat.
Prior to her doctor appointment that day, I buckled her into her seat and took her to the office so I could quickly pick up my computer so I could work from home.
Throughout that journey, despite my driving slower that normal and doing all I could to avoid bumps, sudden stops, hard turns, etc., my fever-ridden six-year-old was hypersensitive to all movement. If you’ve ever had that, or a high fever, you know it is usually accompanied with headaches, sore eyes, painful ears and downright overall crumbiness.
Still, I sometimes could not avoid small bumps and an occasional big one from roadway dips or potholes I could not anticipate. After a few of those instances, my daughter finally pleaded;
“Can you please try to not hit the bumps?”
Character is Defined by the Bumps, Turns, and Potholes
I assured my daughter I was doing all that I could to make her ride as comfortable as possible. I also explained that I sometimes could not avoid every bump, crack, or hole in the road. I promised her I would do whatever I could to make the impact as painless or quick as possible.
Our walk with God is a lot like this. Though he could make all our roadways as smooth and comfortable as possible, He, in his wisdom, sometimes allows us to experiences the bumps and even the massive potholes in life.
Though I have yet to meet someone who claims to have ever celebrated the hitting of a literal pothole in the street, we are to appreciate the metaphorical ones in our lives. Sooner or later, we all experience adversity. That pothole or bump we just can’t avoid. Just as Paul had learned dependence upon the Lord for seeing him through his every trial and as he said:
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – Romans 5:3-5 MSG
My daughter (all three of them actually) is indeed was a strong trooper. She showed perseverance throughout our commute. I doubt she celebrated or found “glory” in the bumps I failed to miss. And I know it’s hard to find glory in those life bumps we encounter.
But, as I explained to my girl, “you only feel the bumps I actually hit… imagine just how many there are that I’ve missed for you!”
Thank you God for all the potholes – both those we’ve felt, and those from which you’ve protected us.