What’s My First Response to Adversity?
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
One day a while back – as you may have noticed – the blog got hacked. Those who clicked on the link were taken, not to the daily devotional, but to some advertisement. This was frustrating to me. I wasn’t going to quit blogging over it, but I did mutter some choice words under my breath. I fumed at whomever was responsible. I may have even thrown a little tantrum at God. Here I am, writing every day, trying to do something good. I could use a little divine digital protection God. Is that too much to ask?
The ironic thing is that I’m quite disciplined at praying every morning. If something is on my mind, I’m usually pretty good at bringing it to God. Once I leave my chair in the morning though, I seem to stop doing that. When my blog got hacked – and I know that was just a small trial in life – I didn’t view it as an opportunity for growth. I didn’t ask God what I should do about it. No. Instead I cursed, I stomped my feet, and I threw my hands up in despair. If I did turn to God, it was only to blame him.
It sounds silly now, but this is often my first reaction in the face of adversity. The blog hack may have been an insignificant event, but my little trials are practice for my larger trials. How I respond to life’s mundane, daily challenges is likely how I’m going to respond to its big ones.
In today’s passage, Paul suggests that we don’t have to respond to trials impulsively, according to our self-defeating nature. Instead, we can learn to respond constructively. When we face trials, we can choose hope instead of despair. We can decide to be patient instead of angry. Instead of throwing our hands up in frustration, we can go to God in prayer. We can choose our attitude and behavior instead of allowing our circumstances to control us.
Hope, patience, and prayer should be our first responses to adversity. These behaviors don’t come naturally though. To get to the point where they are our first responses takes purposeful practice with life’s little trials so that we’re prepared to respond rightly when life throws something bigger than a hacked blog at us.