Do tough situations wreck your family?
“You’re ruining your kids’ lives by adopting a child with special needs.”
“Is it fair to add more children when the one with special needs requires so much attention?”
“Your spouse is in the military, how can you have kids who won’t have a father/mother for months on end?”
I’ve heard all of these questions from real people who meant well. Their questions come from genuine concern, but they reveal a lack of understanding of how big our God truly is.
We can get so caught up in the quest for self-sufficiency and ease, we miss out on God’s best as we avoid stepping into hard places.
While we should never advocate for friends or family to be irresponsible, we need to leave room for God’s calling to exceed our human understanding. We can get so caught up in the quest for self-sufficiency and ease, we miss out on God’s best as we avoid stepping into hard places.
It may seem confusing when tough circumstances fall into the category of God’s best. It is disheartening when what we thought would be our “sweet spot” leaves us feeling empty and unfulfilled.
The reality is that what we want — a rich, abundant, full life — doesn’t always come in the package we’d expect. We worship the same God who promised to rescue Israel from oppression, then allowed His Son to be crucified. The rescue God wanted for His people was spiritual and eternal — not exactly the kind of kingdom Jesus’ followers had in mind.
God doesn’t think or act the way we do, and He tells us as much in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God can bring good things from hard times. Ask any family who has faced adversity, and they’ll tell you that a change in perspective can help us see blessing where others see doom and gloom.
Four secrets of highly successful families who live with adversity
1. Adversity deepens our relationships with God.
In crisis, we turn to God as a lifeline rather than just a discipline of their day. Like the writer of Psalm 55:22, we cast our burdens on the Lord and trust Him to sustain us.
It can often take coming to the end of our own power and strength, to find a bigger God than we ever could’ve imagined. People who are desperate for God know that one of the great blessings of not being able to do life without His help is seeing what life can be with His help.
2. Adversity decreases our self-centeredness.
Kids who experience tough situations often understand earlier than their peers that life doesn’t revolve around them. They also learn compassion and love in amazing ways. They notice differences and embrace difficulty rather than staring from afar and fearing. They are not afraid of hospital rooms, homeless shelters or new kids in their home (Philippians 2:3). They own a perspective that is harder to teach than to catch from experience.
3. Adversity grows our faith.
When the Lord allows us to weather tough storms, we can be assured He has something for us in that season. The good cannot take away the bad, but the author of all good can bring beauty from the ashes.
James 1 says we need adversity to develop perseverance. Romans 5:4 says we can rejoice in our sufferings because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Our faith grows as God provides for us when we obediently follow Him, especially when we cannot see the end result.
4. Adversity gives us greater appreciation for God’s blessings.
While it can be hard to need help in the midst of a crisis, it’s really a whole new level of encouragement when the blessings flow.
My family lives with lifelong disability which means we will continue in and out of seasons where we need help. Over and over again, God places people in our lives to offer encouragement, meals, ease financial burdens, or just show up and offer the gift of their presence. The blessings always amaze me by how much the good ultimately outweighs the bad.
We don’t need to pity families with difficult life circumstances. Instead, we can draw closer for a glimpse of the God who makes their lives possible. We don’t need to be in awe of them either, but instead, we turn our admiration toward God, who is working in them. God births the biggest blessings out of the hardest times, so we can stop fearing the hard times and take our own steps of faith.
We don’t need to push away the little voice inside that says, “You have room for another... orphan or two,” “move across the country,” or “join full-time missions.” Instead, we can step into God’s plans knowing He’s the one who will be faithful to provide for all our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). His grace is sufficient to fill in the gaps a hard life can create.