Adversity Need Not Be Adversarial

Adversity comes in many forms. My grandson, James, knows this up close and personal. He struggles with speech. More specifically, his nervous system struggles with connecting what he wants to say with the motor skills needed to coordinate his breath and muscle systems involved with getting his tongue, lips, jaw, and cheeks to form the right shapes in the right sequences. Make no mistake though, he knows perfectly well what he wants to say. “Please” might come out like “pweeze,” but his heart announces the meaning. Instead of “Rachel,” his sister will hear “Sashal,” but her heart will hear just what James intends.

James knows. Rachel knows. Mom and Dad know. The docs and the speech therapists know. Everyone knows James struggles. One glance at his brain scan will leave no one with a doubt…he struggles. However, here’s the cool thing…James faces adversity, but it’s not adversarial. You see adversity is marked by difficulties and misfortune, while that which is adversarial is marked with opposition and hostility. James knows nothing of opposition or hostility regarding the adversity of speech. Each day he learns to enunciate more clearly just as he learns his letters, numbers, phonics, chores, rights, wrongs, and truths and lies.

Adversity need not be taken up with a clenched jaw and clenched fists. We don’t always need to rattle everyone’s world because we happen to be facing some adversity. Difficulties and misfortune may actually be the very trials God allows us or gives us to help us become more like him. James knows. I know. He and the Savior have more in common than just the first letter of their names.


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