“A few weeks back,” Stan said one morning, “I had an appointment with a pastor over in Grangerville to see if I could provide any help with a discipleship class he was thinking of putting together.”
“How’d that go?” I asked.
Rather than answer, Stan said, “You ever been encouraged by adversity?”
“Encouraged by adversity? I’m not sure.”
“Well, I was,” Stan replied.
“How so?” I asked.
“The appointment was for nine o’clock. It’s about an hour’s drive, so I got up early to spend time with the Lord and pray about the meeting. I had a quick bite to eat, got in the car and saw that it was just about out of gas. I drove to Fred’s Fuel only to find I was behind three other people filling their cars.”
“That can be aggravating,” I commented.
“I was more than a little bothered by the fact I hadn’t done that the day before,” but that’s the way it was. I filled the car, started on my way, only to run into some road construction near the summit going over Weston Mountain. The construction crew was just getting set up and the road was blocked. I finally got through that, but was stuck behind a number of trucks that were going very slowly. There was no way to get by them.”
“More aggravation,” I said. “Were you thinking maybe it wasn’t your day?”
“No,” Stan replied. “That’s when I started thinking about being encouraged by what was going on. It occurred to me that if there were these things trying to get in the way, what I was doing must be important in God’s view!”
“Oh, I see,” I responded. “You were thinking that if the adversary was going to these lengths to discourage you, he must think what you were going to do was something he wanted to prevent. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan said. “And the more I thought about what was going on, especially when I tried to call the pastor at nine o’clock only to find I had no cell service, the more encouraged I got. I just knew the Lord had something special in mind.”
“Did you ever make it to Grangerville?” I asked.
“Sure did,” Stan replied. “Had a fabulous meeting with the pastor. Everything is all set for him to begin the discipleship class next week. I can’t wait to hear what God is going to do in making new and more deeply-committed disciples to help build the kingdom!”
“And,” he concluded, “what God showed me about how He can use Satan’s attempts at adversity to encourage me, leads me to pray for each member of that class that they will see the same thing, knowing that Satan and his adversity will seek to discourage them, but that God can and will use that to encourage them!”
Bible verses to consider:
But I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow adversity to show me that what you have for me to be and to do for you and your kingdom is affirmation that I am in your will. I confess that too many times I have allowed Satan’s adversity to discourage me and keep me from being in your will. Please forgive me for that. And please help me in following every step of your lead to be encouraged exactly in accordance with your will, knowing that if I am being and doing what you have for me, Satan is unhappy and will seek to discourage me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you believe that you can be encouraged by adversity? Why or why not? Have you ever stopped doing something for God because of adversity? If so, who was causing that adversity, and what was it all about? If you sense you may be too easily discouraged from doing what God has for you because of possible adversity and you sense changes may be appropriate, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?