Friday, May 30, 2008

Adversaries and adversity

This week's Bible lesson has a somewhat archaic title but when you think about it hypnotism and mesmerism are just as active today as they were in Mrs. Eddy's time. Maybe even more so, with all the advances in technology making it irresistible to spend one's time on the internet. Modern newscasts depict tragedies moments after they happen and the viewer is rarely prepared not to take in what they are seeing. On the surface there seems to be nothing but adversity and adversaries. How can we deal with it all? Through prayer, turning to God as the source of all action and activity and understanding that all that He made is good. No one to oppose us and no fear of being attacked. The opposing factors of evil have no power to harm us.

Remember Moses' rod, the symbol of his authority. Thrown down before Pharaoh, it was to show the power of good. Pharaoh assumes it is a trick and has his own magicians duplicate it. But Moses' rod swallowed all of their up. Elijah is dismayed to see how the people have been inclined to follow Baal. Elijah invites the prophets of Baal to try to duplicate another display of power. They call upon their gods for a show of fire, but nothing happens until Elijah does the same and his prayers are answered. Job is afflicted with a painful case of boils, which in his time is considered an outward sign of some sin. Job comes to see his innocency is intact and that this situation was not of God's doing at all. God was neither the adversary nor the cause of the adversity. Jesus, after hearing directly from God at the time of his baptism, goes off into the wilderness to ponder just what it means to be the beloved child of God and what power that includes. Satan shows up to test him but each 'what if' challenge is met with the Word of God and Satan gives up and goes away. Finally, Paul and Silas are beaten and imprisoned after healing a woman possessed with the power of divination. Her masters stirred up the people and the apostles ended up in prison. Their response to this adversity is to praise God and sing hymns. That must have made quite an impression on the other prisons for soon there is a great shift of thought, so great that it rocks the prison to its foundations. The result is that not only Paul and Silas chains fall off, but the bands of everyone are loosed. I love what that stands for spiritually.

So no matter what adversity or adversaries you seem to be facing today, take heart. Turn to God, the source of all good, and thank Him for his everpresent care. Watch for Him to move in your life, bringing resolution and peace. Be not afraid. The Golden Text assures us that He will give us rest on every side.

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