"In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."- John 16:33
So why is life filled with adversity?
Thomas A Kempis in is masterpiece, The Imitation of Christ writes about this dynamic, "We will never be free of trials and temptations as long as our earthly life lasts." The biblical answer to this reality is once Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit sin entered the world. This is called original sin. From a non biblical perspective one can argue that adversity is the basic law of the jungle; every creature on earth experiences it so also humans. No matter which perspective you take the key to surviving, even more so thriving is finding meaning through adversity.
The key to to making the most out of adversity is two fold I believe. The first step is to avoid sin or wrong doing. The second step, which is the hardest one is to endure, to trust in God's providence while going through the adversity. Thomas A Kempis writes about this reality, "
"We should not be discouraged when temptation (adversity), but turn in fervent prayer to God Who, in his infinite goodness and compassion, will help us in all our needs...if we endure patiently in the time of temptation or adversity, than our spiritual advancement is apparent."The key to making the most out of adversity I believe is to trust in God. Trust comes from a personal "Abba" relationship with God. The more one knows God the more one will trust. Does this mean that adversity can be avoided? Definitely not. The reality is that life is a mystery, and suffering is very much a part of it. But through trusting God one will develop the perspective necessary to make the most of adversity.
In the end it doesn't matter which perspective you take a Christian one or the non Christian one. Suffering, temptation, and adversity are the lot of each person. The Christian path I believe provides hope through its belief in an after life and of a loving, all knowing God. The non Christian path can offer hope in some exceptions but I believe it is much more difficult.
The great thing about being a Christian is that Jesus wasn't immune to suffering also. Jesus was no stranger to adversity. Jesus was wrongly accused, abandoned, tortured, and crucified. But the story doesn't end there. Jesus also rose and conquered the ultimate adversity, death. As Christians we believe that no adversity can destroy us, even death. Adversity viewed from this perspective can be one of life's greatest teacher bringing out the best in us.