Why God allows us to experience adversity

Published 8:46 am Friday, March 8, 2019

Question: Can you please explain why God allows adversity?
Answer: There are perhaps more reasons than I could mention in one article as to why God allows adversity in our lives. Perhaps the best understanding is that God allows adversity, anguish, trials, tribulations, and heartaches to be valuable lessons of experience in our lives. The various adversities we are called upon to endure in life can bring us to a higher level of insight and understanding. Another important aspect is that adversity can also change our perception or view of the world around us and our relationship with God. Finally, adversity can be a tool or devise that leads us to change our behavior.
Regardless of the benefit adversities can yield; regardless of what they can teach us about life, we should never forget that God is the ultimate teacher. We should look to Him for the meaning or the lesson that our various adversities may hold. This means that we should use his Word to learn from adversities. While it is true that adversities can be negative in the lives of some men, it is also true that they can be positive in their outcome if we know how to handle them. The first thing we must remember is we must be willing to acknowledge that the adversity that we are going through can bring about something positive in our lives. We need to remember that God desires for adversity to have a good and beneficial purpose in making us more like Jesus Christ. Knowing that God wants us to gain something good from adversities, we should ask ourselves a question when they arise: “What reason may the Lord have for this adversity in my life?”
In my mind there is no doubt that God allows adversity for at least three reasons. First, He may allow them to get our attention. Second, He may allow them to guide us to self-examination concerning our lives. Third, He may allow adversity to bring us to a place where we will change our belief and our behavior in life.
Just as a teacher in a classroom cannot teach her students until she gets their attention, God may be using adversity to get our attention. Before some men will listen to God, He has to get their attention. We should at least consider that one way God can get our attention is to allow adversity in life.
There is a great example of this in (Acts 9:1-8). In this passage, Saul of Tarsus can help us to look at our adversities in a different way. You may recall that Saul of Tarsus was on a mission to Damascus to slay as many of the Lord’s disciples that he could find. Up until this point, Saul’s main purpose in his life was the persecution of Christians (Acts 9:1). According to Acts 9:3ff, God gains Saul’s attention when He causes a bright light and Saul was blinded. These events occur in the presence of Saul’s associates. There is no doubt that this must have been an embarrassing situation for Saul.
Saul asked what it was that the Lord wanted of him. God told Saul to go to Damascus and he would be told what to do. The Lord asked Saul, “Why persecutest thou me?” Saul had never thought he was persecuting God when he was persecuting Christians. Through his adversity he is beginning to get the point. There is no doubt that the events which occurred caused Saul to search himself and to realize how wrong his life and his actions had been. It took the adversity along with instruction from God before Saul could correct his actions in life. Thankfully, Saul listened to God and as a result of his encounter with God and his involvement with adversity, Saul became Paul and a great servant for God.
Things are no different today; we have the Word of God, but many men never understand what God wants of them. When adversity comes it is an opportunity to be encouraged to look to God and His Word. Sadly, some men only allow adversity to separate them from God. We should remember that adversity is not from God (James 1:13). But God can use adversity for our good (Romans 8:28). When you are enduring adversity, remember that good can come from it if we will only look to God.
(Tony Hoss is minister at Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton. He can be contacted at 737-2287 or by email at: tmaghol@comcast.net)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox