In the movie “Annie,” Miss Hannigan, Lily St. Regis and Rooster Hannigan do a remarkable job performing Easy Street. As a teenager, I daydreamed about living there. Easy Street and the adage the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence couple well together. As time passes, both prove to be illusions. Eventually, we learn the grass is greener over the septic tank.
Have you ever considered Adversity Street? To our disliking, adversity is a daily companion. For many people, attempting to see adversity through positive lenses seems outlandish. And yet, the most mature Christians I know have developed an appreciation for how adversity grows their faith. Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother or sister is born for adversity.” At first glance, it would be easy to interpret these two phrases as opposites. “Love” headlining one phrase, “adversity” the other.
Studying a little deeper we discover these two phrases aren’t opposites, but an extension of each other. I first became familiar with Proverbs 17:17 in 1999. My younger brother gave me a plaque with this verse inscribed on it. I had coached him through a severe bout of depression and the plaque was an expression of his appreciation. Looking back, I realize God was planting the seed of Proverbs 17:17 in my heart. He was slowly transitioning my purpose in His Kingdom. My new role, becoming a brother “born for adversity” to minister to the depressed, manic depressed and anxious.
Regarding adversity in your life, who would you rather talk to? Someone who had been where you are or someone who hasn’t? No matter how hard we try, we can’t give another individual something we don’t have. That’s why the best comforters will always be individuals with first-hand experience! I often think of the army of people out there who have suffered from depression, manic depression and anxiety disorders. In part two of my new book, I discuss four areas (losses, thinking patterns, anger issues, and compassion behavior) that form the foundation of our depressions. Interestingly, these same four areas, with proper guidance (insights are discussed thoroughly in chapters 6-9), can be turned into emotional disciplines, freeing us to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to minister to the broken!
As this week unfolds, ponder the adverse circumstances that have caused you emotional pain. Become a student of loss, thinking patterns, anger management and healthy compassion. As you do, God will write Proverbs 17:17 on your heart, and a new brother or sister will be born for adversity!