By R. W. McAlister
When problems strike, how do we
handle them? Everyone responds differently; some choose to
overcome, and others choose to be overcome. I’ve encountered
both types during my time in the ministry (indeed, during my
lifetime) – those who allow adversity to make them become
better, and those who allow it to make them become bitter.
For those who have confidence in the Scriptures, Christ
provides the answer for how we should deal with adversity.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation …” (John
16:33). Most of us look ahead for good things to come in our
futures, but that’s not always the case. How do we deal with
unexpected and depressing events?
No man can know tomorrow, but it’s
certain we’ll have unforeseen difficulties that take us by
surprise – everyone does. On the surface, some appear to
live a fairly problem-free life, but we can’t know what may
be happening below the surface in the private parts of their
lives. The story has been told of Ludwig Von Beethoven, one
of history’s greatest composers, who was also nearing
deafness at the age of 32. His condition was pressing upon
him so heavily that he considered suicide.
Thankfully, he didn’t yield to his
despair. If he had, the world would have never experienced
his impressive musical talent.
What about the countless “ordinary”
people who feel they have nothing of such great value to
offer the world? Recall the parable of the talents in Matt.
25. Verse 15 says of the man traveling to a far country:
“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to
another one; to every man according to his several
ability...” You’ll notice that there was no zero talent man!
We may not have some unique genius to offer the world, but
that doesn’t mean we have no value! When we face challenges,
we may have no special passion from which to draw strength,
as did Beethoven. How can we overcome despair?
The answer is as simple as Jesus
Christ. Christ came into the world to save sinners (Romans,
5:8; I Timothy 1:15). What Christians do have is the
knowledge of the gospel (John 8:32). Therein lies the
Christian’s gift to the world (Romans 1:16). This is his
purpose and strength for living! He knows all about the cure
for spiritual diseases, far greater than any cure for
physical diseases and more important than all the medical
knowledge the world over!
We have a certain strength for living
that outweighs any possible unforeseen challenges and
discouragements: if we have obeyed the gospel and we are
living with sincerity and diligence, with heaven as our
“These things I have spoken unto
you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the
world” (Jn. 16:33). Our time here is but a vapor that
appears for a little while, then vanishes away (James 4:14).
We can have peace in Christ, and being “in Christ” puts on
the winning side! So, be of good cheer!
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna church of
Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the
congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/