Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Father of Illegitimate Adversity

I was reading about pain and adversity by Austin C. Bonds recently and I guess I've been thinking about difficult times. Sometimes adversity is just adversity... a byproduct of being clothed in flesh. At other times adversity breaks down on me like the monster-waves I'm so fascinated to watch on the discovery channel. Though we seem to live in more sophisticated and subtle times (I speak here only relatively as our culture careens toward hedonism) the Evil One still fathers all kinds of adversity in our lives. Hold that thought for a moment...

So, I read Probverbs 17:17b(NIV) this morning. Ready? "A brother is born out of adversity." Have you ever found someone in the midst of adversity that became your friend, your advocate, confidant, supporter, champion... or brother? Like me, I know you have. Think about your most difficult times.... I bet you can come up with at least one person who "stepped up" to become someone you could trust. That's because though the Evil One fathers adversity in your life, it's illegitimate adversity. There is someone greater who fathers what I'll call legitimate adversity.

The difference?

One, illegitimate adversity, is meant to tempt you and break you.
The other, legitimate adversity, is meant to test you and refine you.
(And I might add, in many cases, bring you a brother)

So, hang on. Any great authentic relationship will go through some adversity. The relationship you're in with Jesus (or want to be in) will include some as well. But adversity's very presence means that something good can happen.

Check out this excerpt from Robinson Jeffers' poem, "The Bloody Sire" and substitute the word, "adversity" for "violence". Or don't. It's semi-genius either way.

Who would remember Helen's face
Lacking the terrible halo of spears?
Who formed Christ but Herod and Caesar,
The cruel and bloody victories of Caesar?
Violence has been the sire of all the world's values

2 comments:

Stephen Hopson/Adversity University said...

Jonathan:

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I read this post with tremendous interest and found it to be intriguing.

You've touched upon something that many of us probably never gave much thought to but because you have, you might start a new thought process! I would go with this line of thinking and somehow make a series out of it. Perhaps have a series of articles about that topic.

Very interesting and thought provoking. I like how you definied legitimate versus illegitimate adversity. Hmmmm....

I agree that any great authentic relationship will experience adversity on some level. I've always been of the mindset that adversity, when it happens, can strengthen a person, if he/she allows for it to happen.

It's like electricity. Electricity can heal or kill. Same with adversity.

Jonathan Foster said...

Thanks Stephen. I like the connection between electricity and adversity. Good thought.