Joy in Adversity
By Kirk Talley
Rejoice always! — 1 Thessalonians 5:16
The Monday after our Saturday game was not easy. We had lost again. We eventually lost all nine games that season—a tough year. If you had asked our players how the year went, they would have said they were disappointed that we didn’t win a game. But the Lord put something on my heart.
I asked the men, “Do you think you can run a 4.4?” They looked at me with a little confusion. Of course they equated running a 4.4 to the forty-yard dash. We didn’t have a guy on the team who could run a 4.5. It’s a speed that is equated with greatness. I asked again, “Men, do you think you can run a 4.4?” This time, a few of the faster players raised their hands as they looked around the room. I asked again. A few more raised their hands. I asked one more time and to my amazement, though some sheepishly, the whole team raised their hands. They believed that I must have found some way to reach the unreachable. I had.
You see, I was asking them if they could run the race that Paul wrote about in the New Testament. Could they rejoice in all things and when things got worse, do it again? Paul called us to “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Did our men respond? Only they know. But as their head coach, I believe they did. When I asked them, at the end of that season without a scoreboard win, how the year went, they said it was disappointing not to win a game. Yet they were never discouraged and now, years later, some still say it was a great year. They were able to take joy in adversity. The next year, we tied the school record for the most wins in a season.You could say the men on that team ran a 4.4.
1. What takes away your joy?
2. How can you allow God to give you joy in adversity?
3. How did Christ model joy in adversity?
Extra Reading: Nehemiah 8:10; Proverbs 24:10; 1 Corinthians 13:8; Hebrews 12:2
Lord, may we use the strength that You have given us to be joyful in all we do as we live for You. Amen.