The Adversity Principle

After you have suffered a little while, [God] will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10

As strange as it seems, easy living and a stress-free existence can be disadvantageous for animals and for us humans. Think about the big male lion lying in a cage at the zoo. All his needs are met, and his hunting skills are useless. His muscles turn flabby, and he yawns his way through the day. Meanwhile, the lion that’s roaming free on the plains of Africa, stalking and competing for his next meal, remains fit and strong because of the challenges and dangers he faces.

Within limits, adversity is beneficial to you and your children, too. Troubles that require comforting leave you better able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Physical suffering, when endured in the name of Christ, makes it easier for you to say no to sin (1 Peter 4:1). Hardships due to your faith lead to restoration and strength (1 Peter 5:9–10). Trials also produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3). There are many other examples of this “adversity principle” at work in Scripture.

Human beings who have survived hard times are tougher, more resilient, and more compassionate than those who have never faced difficulty or pain. You might remember that the next time your family is battling adversity in the jungle of life.

Before you say good night…

  • Do you try, out of love, to sweep aside every hurdle and difficulty encountered by your children?
  • Do you fight their battles for them?
  • Are you helping or handicapping them by this assistance?

Lord, it is so difficult to watch our children struggle—and so tempting to fight their battles for them. Please grant us wisdom and restraint when You are using adversity to shape and strengthen our sons and daughters. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.