Growing in the midst of adversity

Published 9:53 pm Monday, August 20, 2018

By Joseph A. Perry

Has going through tough times ever made you feel like you just wanted to give up on life?

A man said to me, “Pastor, I think I’m going to have to take my grandson to the doctor, because he doesn’t seem to be growing. He’s not walking, and he’s not talking, and his parents are trying to ignore it.”


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When a child is born, we expect that child to grow; we don’t look for them to stay immature. If the child doesn’t grow, there is a problem somewhere. There is something that has caused the growth to be hindered. We look for them to develop as we as parents and guardians work together to guide him in this process, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

God expects us to grow as we go through life, even in the midst of adverse moments.

Adversity is a part of the Christian experience. In other words, all of us will go through struggles. All of us will experience times of suffering and hardships. We will in fact get angry, and get pressured, as we’re confronted with trials. The truth of the matter is, that’s life.  However, God expects us to grow, through our life-challenging experiences. We can either submit to our suffering or grow in God. He always has a purpose for us; He has one for you.

There are times when we as people of God say we want to grow, we want to grow up. We don’t want to stay the same way we are. When we feel that we want to grow in the Lord, oftentimes our growing up requires us to go through difficult times. In other words, growing up and advancement in our walk through life requires often adverse situations. Conflicts, and things that are unfavorable, sometimes unfortunate and devastating, can bring about molding and the making of how God wants to use you.  Know that these moments can move you through life to set you up for blessings.

All through the Bible, men and women went through adversity. They went through tough times. They didn’t stay at a certain level, they matured. Apostle Paul is speaking from his heart when he tells them to grow up. Tough times can hinder you, or they can accelerate you. I’m talking about your spiritual growth and development.

We know we are growing:

  • When our faith is deepening. Our belief level rises. We trust God more. Our lives are not the same. You are getting stronger in this faith, in your walk.
  • When we have power to endure. There were times when the loads of life got so heavy, we felt like giving up. Paul could have given up. People give up in their fight, but we must build up a muscle within us to continue on the journey.
  • When we recognize that this is not an obstacle, but an opportunity. The devil meant it for our harm, but God meant it for our good. He does not want us to stay the same. God sets us up over and over again.
  • When we see ourselves becoming more committed to him. Regardless of the pressure, we realize that all things work together for our good. Paul says the Lord’s very breath, His power flows through us, and nourishes us, and has the ability to keep us connected, even in our tough times.

Don’t ever let go, don’t ever give up, just keep growing in the Lord.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Perry is pastor of St. Mark AME Zion Church, 816 McKinley Ave.