Overcoming Adversity & the Christian Maturation Process

It’s interesting that as we encounter life’s difficulties and share of twists and turns in our lives, we find that we have choices that assist us in determining the outcome. No one is exempt from trials. As Christians, though, many of us are acutely aware of the “right” choice, the “wrong” choice, and the “I know what God wants me to do, but I don’t want to do it … yet” choice.

We are all equipped to assist, encourage and pray for others who are facing trials, but when it’s you being refined by the fire … well, that’s a different story. Right? Actually, No. “Practice what you preach” reverberates in my mind — but it’s a difficult application when you are the one wading through the muck and mire. You need to purpose yourself to set into motion the advice you offer others who face trials. But how?

Many of us have encouraged others with something that goes like this … “I know this is difficult, but things will get better!” God’s got this!” And we truly believe this — but, what if things don’t get better? What if it becomes the “new normal?”  Does “God have this?” Absolutely!

As I consider my own adversities (both past and present), I find that my words of encouragement to others take on a slightly different direction. They sound more like, “God does have this — He knows your situation and He hears your pleas … this may be your new normal, but in the midst of this new normal, “He will never leave you or foresake you.”

In 2 Corinthians 11:23-30, Paul recounts the incredible adversities he was facing and had faced. Quite frankly, many of his adversities never abated, yet what did he do? He chose to rejoice and further deepen his love and commitment to his Lord. What should we do? We should do likewise. Adversity draws us closer to the Lord. Our brains can house countless Scriptures, but if our head knowledge is not challenged with real life circumstances, how then can we grow?

I was recently encouraged by an article I read on trials, where in it, it said, “Trials … they can be God’s greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity. If you’ll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow, and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.”

Now to address the “maturation process.” Do we ever figure it out … this whole trial/adversity thing? Most likely not — trials have a way of knocking us off our feet no matter how mature in the Lord we are. We were never promised that life would be a smooth ride. In fact, we should adjust our perspective and realize that the Lord is growing us through these trials. This is an important part of the sanctification process, and how we respond speaks volumes about our walk with the Lord. It is in our greatest weakness that we truly experience the peace and power that is only found in Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11: “But he said to me, ‘ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When the trials and adversities come your way — and they will — purpose yourself to rely on the steadfast love of the Lord and realize that His mercies never end — no never. He will grant you the ability to persevere and overcome … even if that means things remain status quo, He will provide a way for you to adapt to your new normal.

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Cheryl Kaysen was one of the founders of the SVC Early Childhood Center (now Preschool) and she has served as its Director of Operations since Day One. She holds a B.S. with a double major in Business Administration and Marketing Management from Southern California College (now Vanguard University). Her heart is firmly planted in the SVC Preschool, as is her family — her mother, Carol Carlsen, was the founder and longtime Director. “At Preschool, we are responsible for the ever-important foundational years of learning and growing,” says Mrs. Kaysen. “Not only do we reach and teach our precious little ones for Christ, but we also have the responsibility of coming alongside our parents in order to facilitate, encourage, and direct their growth as well.”

Mrs. Kaysen and her husband Dana are the proud parents of two grown children, both SVC alumni. One of her greatest joys is that her oldest grandchild, Porter, is now a Kindergartner at our school, and he represents the fourth generation of the Kaysen/Carlsen family at SVC.

You may reach her at ckaysen@svcschools.org.

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