By Elder Larry Wise
This country has been one of the most prosperous of any nation but prosperity sometimes can be the ruin of the people of God as they are prone to forget from whence their blessings come. There will be adversities along the way, but how will we react when they come? Solomon said, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” (Eccl. 7:14). How does this journey begin for God’s people between an ebb and flow of prosperity and adversity?
It is a glorious experience when we have found the Lord Jesus Christ. We must remember that Jesus found us long before we found Him. Jesus finds every predestinated heir in the same condition as He found Jacob. “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” (Deut. 32:9-10). Jesus knows the condition of every heir of promise and knows exactly where to find them when it pleases Him to translate them into the kingdom of His dear Son. When we, as heirs of promise, have been called by the King of kings and given a spiritual creation from above, we have the ability within to find the One who saved us from our sins on Calvary’s cross. We today find Him through the gospel as the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Philip had found the Messiah and went to Nathanael to share with him this glorious experience. (John 1:45). We should all be zealous of spreading the good news of our spiritual find.
We rejoice in spiritual prosperity as we find the King of kings and Lord of lords and experience the heart felt presence of Jesus in our lives as our cups are made to overflow. We are on the mountain top and lifted up above the cares of the world with our eyes on Jesus. It may seem as though there are no obstacles to our continual rejoicing in Jesus and His love. It is then we must beware of Satan who is ever present and ready to hinder us from the path of service to the Master. Satan went after Jesus immediately after He was baptized by John the Baptist, but Jesus resisted him in every temptation and gave us the example of being rooted and grounded in the word of truth to use against Satan when he attempts to get us to detour from our Christian service.
Yes, we need to be joyful in the day of prosperity, whether material or spiritual, but we also need to consider that a day of adversity is certain for the true servant of God. How will we react when this day comes? Will we be bitter and resentful, wondering why God has followed this day of adversity to come into our lives or will be join ourselves with the words of Job as the trials begin to mount in his life? “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshipped, and said, Naked
came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-21). Job would continue to trust in the Lord even though He might slay him. Will we continue to trust in the Lord in the midst of adversity? I trust that we will because the Lord has informed us adequately in His word what we could expect as true disciples. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Our Christian journey started out gloriously, and it can continue depending upon our commitment when adversity comes. Paul and Barnabas had been instrumental in bringing much joy to God’s people in several cities; they returned to some of those cities to see how they were doing and to urge them on to perfection. “And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 4:21-22). Paul had been absent for a period of time and had not been able to verbally
preach and exhort them to good works, even in the midst of affliction. Paul was absent but the Lord is never absent as He beholds the good and evil in every place. Paul writes, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12).
Someone might say they have too much adversity in their life; therefore, they cannot rejoice and keep God’s word, but that would be contrary to scripture. Paul affirms in I Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Jesus is the way of escape as we consider that glorious experience of first finding the Lord and the beginning of our Christian experience. If we neglect Christ and His word, we have missed the way of escape. The way of escape definitely doesn’t reside in self. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” (Heb. 2:3).
The prophet Habakkuk experienced adversity, but he considered other things than his circumstance and was able to rejoice. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18).
The Lord will never leave nor forsake His people for His great name’s sake, so let us consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself lest we be wearied and faint in our minds. (Heb. 12:3). Remember that Solomon said that we must not find anything after Him; He is to have the preeminence. Let us praise Him for His wonderful works toward the children of men.