How to Respond in Moments of Adversity

“The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?’” (John 10:31-32)

Jesus Christ was working miracles and people were happy to receive theirs. For them, Jesus was just one great miracle worker, they could not read between the lines, they could not perceive that the miracles were signs; pointers to a greater reality – God in the midst of men. When Jesus eventually revealed his divinity, they picked up stones to throw at him.

It is funny. When people start fighting you, they suddenly forget all the good you have done for them. Even those who received the miracles joined in shouting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Moments like this are sure to come. Such moments are tests to us.

If you want to know a man’s true character, watch the way he behaves in times of adversity, in moments of anger, provocation or failure. For most of us, the animal in us comes out. We begin to say things and behave in ways that are, to say the least, totally unchristian. Both Jeremiah and Jesus were provoked in our readings today and we have a lot to learn from their reaction.

Jeremiah prayed a prayer of surrender. He asks God to fight on his behalf: “O Lord of hosts, who test the righteous, who see the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them for to you have I committed my cause.” (Jeremiah 20:12). He even goes on to sing despite the pains in his heart: “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.” (verse 13)

The singing of Jeremiah reminds me of Paul and Silas who sang praises to God while in prison. Unlike the Israelites, Paul and Silas did not complain. Sing praises to God even when things are rough and watch what happens. Surrender to God and Let Him Fight for you.

Jesus had the power to call down fire to burn down those who were exchanging words with Him but he simply “escaped from their hands and went away across the Jordan.” Jesus did not use the power he had to fight back his enemies. Secondly, Jesus reminded them of the good he had done for them in the past. “I have shown you many good works from the Father, for which of these do you stone me?”

Are you going through adversity? Do you find yourselves surrounded by enemies? Relax, sing praises to God and allow Him fight on your behalf.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, in my anguish I call to you, save me lest I perish. Amen.

(Friday of the 5th Week of Lent. Bible Study: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 18 and John 10:31-42).

Fr. Abu

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