Adversity, misery, heartache, pain and struggle. Much of my life I have invested time, energy and resources trying to insulate myself from problems. And although I knew that eliminating problems was not totally possible, security and safety became very important to me. Thus I worked hard to avoid storms in life.
Several years ago during a medical crisis involving my wife, I wrestled with my failure to prevent this medical problem. After all, I am a physician. Dealing with problems wisely and well is important. However, I came to realize that the important efforts were not in preventing storms in my life but rather in building a foundation of character to uphold me in the midst of the stresses of life. I have come to realize we all experience storms – some large, some small and many unavoidable.
At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV), Jesus ended with a parable. The parable described two builders and one storm. The storm was inevitable for both. The builders were differentiated not by the structure, design or materials they used but rather by the foundation of their houses.
Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount the spiritual foundation that will withstand the storms of life. This foundation, referred to as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) — is cemented by poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity and peacemaking.
Jesus ends this list with an interesting characteristic – blessedness resulting from unfair persecution.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". (Matthew 5:10 NIV).
Blessedness in the midst of terrible trials — yes!
I certainly do not seek misery in my life. However, my response to adversity needs to be based more on the foundation of my spiritual life rather than on the physical, financial, or emotional issues encountered. So I must stop writing this lesson and get to work. Will you join me in the labor on our foundations?
Sharing the journey with you,