"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."1
In 1832, French engineer Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps was traveling on the Mediterranean Sea. One of the other passengers (on the ship he was on) came down with a contagious disease and the ship was quarantined. Lesseps became very frustrated. To help kill time he read the memoirs of Charles le Pere who had considered the feasibility of building a canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. In 1869 the Suez Canal was completed. It was constructed following the design by and under the leadership of Lesseps.
It was during that quarantine thirty-seven years earlier that the plan for the Suez Canal was germinated and conceived by Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps. The world has reaped the benefit ever since.
Probably more often than we realize, God uses adversity to help us grow, to motivate us to find creative solutions to life's problems, or to further his work. For example, the early Christians didn't fulfill Christ's commission to move out of Jerusalem with the gospel to the ends of the earth until the Church faced persecution. They were forced to move to the ends of the earth.
This principle has been true in my life too. Just about every major change in my life for the better has been the result of some kind of setback or adversity.
So, every time adversity comes into your life, may I suggest that you embrace it, and ask God what he is saying or seeking you to learn or do through it.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when facing a setback, or enduring a loss, a disappointment, or a trial, help me to 'hear' what You are saying to me through this experience and how You want to use it in my life for Your glory. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Acts 1:8 (NIV)