Adversity: An Opportunity or an Ogre?

I’ll be blunt, adversity stinks.

You lose…
…your job.
…your health.
…your wealth.

…thing you cherish goes missing.
…hope you grasp slips away.
…one you love suddenly dies.

And… adversity becomes your up-close, personal, unwanted guest.

It more than stinks.
It hurts…
It bewilders…
It depresses…
It pervades…
It lingers…
…a lot…too much…too long.

You know it and I know it, because we’ve been there. Perhaps, you’re still there. If you’ve not been there. Hang on, it’s coming.

So, for just a few moments think about this question: “what do all those items above have in common? Slow down for just a bit. Try not to read on. Can you think of at least two things they have in common?

Okay, you’ve probably arrived at the same thing, but just in case here it is:

1.  They all represent loss and loss requires grief.
2.  They all fill a part of your soul and what fills the soul produces purpose.

So, will forgetting the loss heal the grief? No, because forgetting will never fill your soul and therefore will produce no purpose.

So, will time heal all wounds? No, because time is just a prolonged encounter with the pain.

So, will something new and similar to the thing lost fill the void? Maybe in part, but not completely, because it’s never quite the same

Then what? What will help?

One thing. Purpose. Ultimate purpose.

People, pursuits, and things pass away. The result. They never completely fill the holes in our souls. Please don’t get me wrong. They are beautiful and wonderful. We desire them and need them. They complement us. They often bring out the best in us. However, by their very nature they are not permanent. They may not outlast us. When they go they leave holes in our souls. Joy flows out. Pain rushes in. Grief.

Maybe you recall a famous scene from the Billy Crystal movie, City Slickers.

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger]  This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean s____.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.

So one question needs an answer if adversity is to become an opportunity rather than an ogre. Got purpose…ultimate purpose?

The Lord has it. He wants you to have it.


2 thoughts on “Adversity: An Opportunity or an Ogre?

  1. Wow. Thanks for that, Ricki. This morning I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN interview the uncle of a family who lost two sons/brothers on MH-17 and the compassion with which he did so struck me — how could he manufacture such heartfelt feelings? Then I remembered he lost his brother to suicide himself. What’s my point here? Not that Cooper is a Christian (though possible, I suppose… only God knows his heart), but that words spoken from such a deep level carry so much more meaning when spoken from the heart of someone who has experienced that same pain personally. You and your family have suffered that pain first-hand, and by pointing folks towards Jesus as the only way to fill that “hole in our souls,” your words are all the more truthful and compelling. Thank you again, my friend.

    • Brett, thank you for the kind words. As always, you and yours are near and dear and in my prayers. Have you seen my latest news? Daniel and Abby are expecting their first in about a week. Jessica is getting married in October. Man.

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