Nobody likes adversity. Although some people thrive on excitement, usually this does not mean trouble. Controversy is one thing, adversity something completely different.
Hindsight is 20/20, it has been said. The benefit of experience allows you to look back and see how God used the adversity in your life as building blocks for the future. That’s usually easier to acknowledge when you are past the adversity.
How about when you are in the middle of adversity?
I learned the hard way that the prophetic can be really helpful in the middle of adversity. Over a significant transition in my life that led me out of full-time ministry in one church to start over completely in another part of the state the Lord gave me a metaphor that persisted throughout the transition.
The metaphor was one being stuck in the miry bog and getting out to stand on solid ground. It started with the Lord giving me Psalm 40:1-2:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
It started with meditation on this verse. I certainly felt stuck in the miry bog as things were not progressing for me the way I wanted. This was heightened to me when an elder in the church shared a dream he had about me. I was crossing a body of water and I was with waders deep into the quicksand. But when he asked me in the dream whether I needed help, I said that I was OK. The truth was that I was OK because I felt God with me every step of the way even though the road was miry.
Long story short. I went through some very difficult times where I had leaders coming down on me and threatening to defrock me. When I finally got to where I am now, I had someone who was very prophetic approach me out of the blue and start prophesying over me: You are Joseph. You are now on solid ground. You are in God. There was more, but I don’t remember all of it.
In the middle of my journey I certainly felt like Joseph who had been thrown into the pit by his brothers. I also felt like Jeremiah who had been thrown into a muddy pit where he was waste deep in the mud. But God is faithful. He puts our feet upon the rock, on solid ground.
Whatever was meant for evil, God turned it for good, to paraphrase Joseph. Sometimes our lives don’t turn out as our dreams and prophetic promises seem to indicate. The road to success is not always smooth and easy. When we arrive at the other side it is easy to see how God was guiding the process all along. Sometimes when you are in the middle of it, this is not as clear.
By Ralph Veenstra