Angie B. Williams, wife, mother, grandmother, and retired federal employee, has been widely used in ministry in the United States and Canada. Through many episodes of personal tragedy, including loss of three babies and breast cancer, she demonstrates how, with Jesus, we can have Joy in Adversity.
Sharing out of her own personal tragedies, the author offers Biblically based hope and encouragement to those who hurt by presenting a balance between complacent resignation and faith in God's power to deliver. Based on the premise that our faith is tested through adversity, she suggests how to have joy and victory while walking through life's many trials.
This book will show you...
. how to walk through and not around adversity
. that obedience to God is not necessarily a prescription for blissful, pain-free living
. how to get strength from Christ when you feel the urge to give up.
WHAT LEADERS ARE SAYING
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is being tested by adversity. Be encouraged—you can overcome! You can live in a place of streams amidst adversity. Angie's personal life is a testimony to this.
—Pastor Ed Heatwole
As you read Joy in Adversity, may the Holy Spirit communicate His divine message to your heart so that you will never be the same.
—Robert H. Reichard, Ph.D.
so what is adversity?
What Adversity Is
The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Lycaonia to continue in the faith stating, “That we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Drawing on his own experience, Paul asks the Roman Christians, whether tribulation, distress, persecution…could separate them from God's love. He emphatically affirms that we are more than conquerors and nothing can separate us from God's love.
Scripture is replete with references to suffering for Christ and the sufferings of Christ. Jesus said those who are persecuted for His sake are blessed. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11, 12).
Paul warned his young protégé, Timothy, that he must “endure afflictions” and suffering for the sake of the Gospel. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:12). But the joy of seeing the face of Jesus will be worth it all!
Am I suggesting that we be joyful in the midst of misery, grief, and trouble? While I believe suffering adversity joyfully is Biblical, many Christians don't want to hear anything about it. We entice potential believers with, “If you just accept Jesus as your Savior, everything will be alright.” Would it not be better to teach them how to cope with life's many trials?
We are so afraid of scaring people away from church that we sometimes promote the idea that “our Jesus” answers every prayer without regard to His sovereign will. Unfortunately, we don't always tell them how to search out nuggets from the Scriptures that will build their faith when God does not answer their prayers quickly or in the way they expected. It is incumbent upon us to teach them to be like the Bereans. “…they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11b).
You mean they checked up on what the Apostle Paul taught them? We must check after anyone who purports to be a teacher of the Word, no matter how big the name. To demonstrate my fallibility, one day I thought the Lord was telling me to read Galatians 7. I couldn't wait to get my special “word from the Lord.” Since Galatians has only six chapters, I was mistaken, but I learned a valuable lesson.
What Adversity is NOT
The Apostle Peter says we are to “partake of Christ's sufferings.” He says suffering reproach, or unjust accusation, for the name of Christ brings blessing and great reward in Heaven. However, he hastens to add that Christians should not “suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters” (I Peter 4:15, NKJV). Adversity is not incurring the wrath of the IRS by failing to pay our taxes. It's not speeding down the freeway and getting a ticket. If we arrive at work late and the supervisor expects an explanation, we think we are being persecuted. Adversity is not indulging in sex outside of marriage and getting pregnant.
I well remember a young Christian girl expressing her deep agony. “The devil is trying to tell me I'm pregnant!” she exclaimed. I shifted on my chair trying to hide my uneasiness. Would I indulge her or hold her accountable for her actions? After a few pleasantries, I asked whether she had indulged in intercourse? “No!” she replied emphatically.
Rapidly becoming frustrated, I searched for a way to help her accept responsibility and escape the victim mentality without crushing her completely. Finally, I blurted it out, “The devil is a bad boy, but even he can't make you believe you are pregnant if you haven't given him a reason.” That was the defining moment for her.
Sin has consequences, but the world would have us believe we can sin with impunity. We have manufactured new definitions for sin to make it more palatable. Billy Graham used to say the new morality was nothing more than the old immorality. Sin hasn't changed much since the Garden of Eden, and couching sin in respectable terminology won't help. Did you ever have anyone try to manipulate your thinking, make you believe a lie, or play word games like this with you?
Abortion: A product of conception, a minor inconvenience. If we admit it is a baby, we have to admit that abortion is murder, and we are blithely killing millions. We accord more respect to a cat or a spotted owl than to the fruit of the human womb.
Fornication: Being sexually active, safe sex. The kids will do it anyway, so let's provide sex education and a condom. This teaches them to think they can escape sin's consequences—break God's law, but just don't get caught.
Shacking Up: Domestic partnership, significant other, lifetime companion. Such words now appear in obituaries.
Homosexual, effeminate, deviant: Alternative lifestyle, partner, same-sex marriage.
Adultery, infidelity, unfaithfulness: An indiscretion or mistake. The philandering husband “fell into an adulterous relationship,” which makes him a victim. One may fall into a ditch, but Christians who commit adultery, do so through a series of compromises and rationalizations.
Illegitimate or born-out-of-wedlock: Love child. I heard one woman say her “love child” was an answer to prayer, even though a married minister fathered it.
Genetic engineering: Trying to create human beings in ways other than what God designed.
Pride and arrogance: Independent spirit.
Lying and covering up: Error in judgment.
Getting caught committing a crime: Entrapment.
And the grandfather of them all, “that depends on what alone means,” or “what is is.”
On and on, ad infinitum and ad nauseam! God has not changed His definition of sin, and His moral absolutes still apply. But “the law” has become whatever we can get away with—just make up the rules as we go along. So adversity is not trying to get away with sin or using diversionary tactics to deflect the enemy.