The Blessings of Adversity

by Felix-Abrahams Obi

The world of today is full of pressures, perturbations and adversities. Many are discouraged by the way things have been going. But history is replete with facts that suggest that some good can come out of adversity. In essence, adversity may even be a cloak that shrouds or protects the blessings of God! So you can actually TURN YOUR ADVERSITY INTO ADVANTAGE, THE PRESSUREINTO POWER!”

Our world is a world of visible ambivalence, paradoxes and contradictions. Things don’t always go smooth and rosy like we’d always expect them to…a pot pourri of joyful triumphs and travails of,misfortune and setbacks! Yet, wise men of old knew that a world without opposites would be flavourless. Dark hues contrast white better. Light defines the borders of darkness clearly. Sadness gives higher worth to joy. Failure proves the existence of success. Two opposites compliment each other. So does darkness and light separate night and day, as dawn is to dusk! Pressure on the grapes at a wine press yields precious wine for merry hearts. The battering blows of the hammer and the heat of the furnace burnishes the gold, thus enhancing its value. Pressure on the intellect and the perspirations of a dogged scholar births genius. Pressure on the muscles cause them to hypertrophy into atlas-like brawns in men. The peddling of the wheels and axles propel the awkward tandem forward like a smoothly-gliding snake.

We loathe and cringe at pain. We love comfort and revel in joy and mirth but isn’t pain an index of life? When the body can no longer perceive pain, destruction of body tissues and vital organs looms. Adversity could be the cloak that shields blessings from our view as it blurs our vision of the morrow. Amidst adversity and deferred hope, we whine and sulk, loathing the very essence of life. When pain hits our brains, we disdain the virtue of patience and perseverance. We cringe from the discomfort and grope through the path of least resistance. We may exit the pain but the blessings that accompanied the pain may also exit.

We need to take a cue from those who withstood pain in all its fierceness. We need to look back and recall the generals of old who endured pain of their battle wounds till they tasted the joy of victory. Let us be comforted by the life of the expectant mother who bears the travails of the birth process for the joy of a 9-month occupant of her womb. Let us be inspired by the endurance of the local farmer who tills the hard soil, not with tractors but with hoes at the beginning of the farming season. For he knows that when harvest time comes, his barns and silos would burst at the seams with excess. Pain may come, but joy still would come. And at the end, when the blessing has manifested, the harrowing memories of the adversity become a mirage because when joy debuts, pain becomes banished to the land of oblivity! Pain might become an enduring legacy if seen for what it really portends!

The pain of apartheid did something in South Africans…their rich music culture is a it’s signpost. Slavery weaned, weaved and enriched the great music flavour of Africans in diaspora. Handel was a better composer as a blind man. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was crafted in the dungeons. Paul’s classic essays and letters which form a greater part of the New Testament were scripted in a Roman cell. The best of Jewish songs were composed under Babylonian captivity. Faced with near extinction of their race, the Jews turned the sand dunes of arid Palestine into arable farms and gardens worth millions….thro the Kibbutz system! Another blessing from adversity. Don Quixote, the acclaimed classic of all times was written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1610) in the prison yards. The glory of the Cistine chapel is equal to the painstaking strokes of the weary hands of Michelangelo…!

The agony of Jesus Christ at Gethsemane; the crushing pain of Herod’s crown of thorns and briers; the trudge to Golgotha under the reeling weight of Pontius Pilate’s cross of beams; the gruesome thud and the cringing pain of crucifixion nails; the spilling of precious blood; the death and separation from God and banishment to hell for three days….these adversities were part of the process that secured our salvation… a hope, a future to all of mankind!

What blessing/s will my/your/our adversity bring to our world?

Concluding thoughts:

Difficult jobs unleash latent potentials in men.

Difficult people challenge our ability to love others.

Difficult situations horn and strengthen our will.

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1 comment

Bennie Droese January 10, 2007 - 4:31 pm

And adversity causes some men to break; others to break records -Williams A. Ward.

Nice one Felix.



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