North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

Shakespeare knew about hard times. He wrote, “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Sometimes the Bible calls adversity “affliction”. While adversity may not sound sweet to you, it can work in your favor. It’s a matter of perspective and the positive slant we attach to our troubles. One of the perplexities for unbelievers is adversities and hard times. Disease, illness, and tragic accidents, are all used as reasons to try and disprove God’s love and goodness. Even some believers have difficulty understanding the truth: “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
One such difficult time for me was when my children moved several states away with their mother. For all their born life they lived with me or near me. My time with them has always been cherished and never taken for granted. But suddenly, 1300 miles separated us from one another. Self-pity and pouting were a great temptation for me. In fact, I indulged. I wondered why God would allow someone so important to me to move so far away. Especially since I had sacrificed in other areas of my life to always be near and/or available for them. Many other fathers, like myself, hold their children as their most precious blessing. Why did God allow them to be so far away when time with them was often the very thing that helped me keep moving forward? It didn’t make sense to me. I thought it was unfair. And according to my assessment, it was unfair. Although we talked regularly it wasn’t the same as being together. But I came to accept the reality of it.
Eight weeks passed without seeing them. It was November and they came home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Though the time with them was short, it was also blissful. A couple of hours before meeting their mother and their trip back to Texas, I had a conversation with my son David. I told him how much I missed him and his sister and wished they had never moved away. He said, “Dad, I know what you mean. I feel the same way. But I’ve made some new friends. And maybe God needed me to go out there and tell someone about Jesus…kinda like a mission trip.” The pupil schooled the teacher. They have since moved back closer to home. But, on that day, as they drove away and with tears in my eyes, the truth of “All things work together for the good…” had a fresh new meaning to me.
We’ve all had circumstances we wished were different from what they were. But these and other adversities are no excuse for turning your back on God or rejecting Him. Solomon wrote: “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Proverbs 24:10). Fainting and faltering is a usual reaction to affliction for some people. Bible missionary, Paul, tells us to take the attitude of faith and never get caught “under the circumstances”, always look for the purposes of God in what seems to be a setback. II Corinthians 4:13-18 says, “I believe…that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. He will raise us up also. God will take us to Himself and He will take you. These things happened for your good…this is the reason we don’t give up. Our human body is wearing out. But our spirits are getting stronger every day. The little troubles we suffer now for a short time are making us ready for the great things God is going to give us forever. We don’t look at things that can be seen. We look at the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen will come to an end. But the things that can’t be seen will last forever.”
“For this cause we faint not” (II Cor. 4:16). For what cause? Because we like affliction, accidents, and difficulties? Absolutely not! Because when you seek God you have the potential to see beyond the hurt and adversity. Let’s all adopt the philosophy that trials are temporary. This mental prose can carry us victoriously through many a bitter experience.
Are you or somebody you know passing through difficult days? Are you near to fainting underneath the burdens that press you? Ask God for faith to see beyond the present circumstances, to follow his hand guiding you even when you cannot see. I recite the following compilation of Scriptures when my heart is heavy and I don’t understand why I am having to go through the fire. Perhaps it can help you too: “Though He slay me and my spirit is cast down…yet I will praise Him for all things work together for the good to those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose .” See you in church on Sunday!
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Jun 30 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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