“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.”
—Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
Nobody willingly goes into a grief-rending period of life. These adversities come without warning and they sweep away our equilibrium from under us. Times as these, when life dies, convey us, against our will, into the realm of unprecedented uncertainty. Life as it was is gone. And all we are left with are pieces of ourselves that are never more inherently us. It is an astounding paradox that, in these times, against the flow of lesser judgment, our ally in God comes to carry us majestically through.
Proof of the providence of God comes in the appositional breeze making meaning out of the harsh strong winds. Meaning-making is where God comes in. One day, out of the sordid mess, comes the meaning we were looking for; if we view life as a stream of lessons to be learned. If we depend on God, this can be true for us.
The Visceral Conflict In Adversity
When things are being torn from our souls, and we feel exposed to the elements, there is much inner torment; a conflict unparalleled.
The harder things get the more we can rely on God, and the more we witness the power of grace as we reflect having endured the worst of it.
We never enjoy these processes of refining, where the strong winds of adversity blow off every vagrant leaf and ticket of unnecessary nuisance. As we are broken down into the core material that subsists us, we get to learn who we are. But only with God, in faith, is this statement true. Without God we resent the refining. With God we can endure this process of becoming.
We come to appreciate the enormous benefit of understanding what must occur with our faith:
“Faith must be tested, because it can only be turned into a personal possession through conflict.”
—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
We cannot do much about the adversities that blow hard into our lives, except have the faith to know that what is left behind is most centrally us. This assumes that we accept we are unfinished works on the potter’s wheel of the Great Potter.
Faith is a possession that is built for war—the spiritual variety. When all of life runs swimmingly faith lays dormant. But when our experience turns south, and our spiritual appearance goes pear-shaped, faith emerges and is the stoic friend named God carrying us through.
Through faith we endure the harshest of strong winds of adversity. What is hell at the time comes out, strangely, as the making of us. Only with God could we make meaning out of such unmitigated disaster.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.