Adversity – Does it make us stronger?

Tree survived perhaps because trunk coped with adverse conditions by hugging close to the ground

This tree survived, perhaps because its trunk coped with adverse conditions of heat and drought by hugging close to the ground, where water was more available. I find beauty in this gnarled tree. I wish my photo had captured its loveliness more accurately. I saw it myself, and it’s a beautiful tree.

Adversity reaches all of us in varying degrees of severity and for differing lengths of time, causing us to struggle. Some difficulties may be avoidable, while others are inescapable. Some people, while suffering a long time, find ways to cope. Most of us have heard the proverbial saying about the effects of hardship and opposition on its victims: If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. Often this is true, but I’d never wish to have trouble in my life to prove it. I’d rather read about it in a book about someone else, preferably a fictitious character.

Troubles may scar us and make us sad, but there is a promise in the Bible that I love: Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Something good comes out of our sorrows. Bad stuff is not good; but with God, good things spring from the wreckage of our bad circumstances. Like the dark threads woven among the brighter ones in a tapestry, the trials of life make each of us who we are, different from any other.

Do you know anyone living with burdens heavier than most people must bear? I know a few, and I keep them in my prayers. My prayer for those who hurt, physically or mentally or emotionally, is this: May eternity bring them joy that far exceeds their memories of bad times.

About Carol Ann Ritchey

Life is good because God is good.
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9 Responses to Adversity – Does it make us stronger?

  1. “God never gives you more than you can handle”. We hear that mantra often and in my own case have handled crushing burdens as most of us have. I do not find much consolation in the thought, however, with the millions of people living in such utter despair due to economic conditions in this country . It is far worse in the rest of the world. I suppose those poor souls will handled it until they are released by welcome death in disease, starvation or murder in war.


    • I understand what you are saying. My own daughter is struggling with poverty. I help her as much as I am able, but the poverty is too deep for my help to pull her out. I can only provide food and phone for her and my grandson. I hope I can do more in the future. Yes, the conditions are worse in many countries, even unthinkable tragedies occur everyday. I don’t have the answer, Carl. I know that it’s not in God’s heart for children to be starving. Why he doesn’t intervene I cannot answer. I have to trust and pray. Do we all pray for the poor and dying nations fervently? I pray for my daughter, and admit to forgetting the woes of others, at times.

      There is a warning to anyone that harms a child. Mark 9:42 says: And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Luke 17:1-2 says: Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

      When I wrote this post, I didn’t have in mind the deep kind of world suffering you are talking about. Rescue is the only answer. Why don’t we rescue them? We are His hands and His feet. We cannot, can we? If we can, we are blind to it. We are bankrupt when it comes to ending serious suffering in our world. Blessings to you, Carl…


      • Unmerited suffering will always remain a lance in the ribs of faith. In spite of that we do what we can. I am always sending my kids bits of money here and there and just wrote checks for $10 each to Miami Camillus House(shelter), Disabled Vets, Miami Childrens Hospital.


      • Blessings to you, Carl. Your compassion for the poor and downtrodden reaches your wallet. I am eager to watch in heaven as God lavishes His love on those that suffered on earth, by their own fault or without fault. God is good, and eternity is a long time.


  2. pattisj says:

    This reminds me of the story of the tree that is battered by harsh winds. With each blow, the roots grow a little longer and stronger, holding fast. We’re getting snow, Carol Ann! And the winds is blowing tonight. Blessings to you.


    • Yes, none of us is without troubles. I don’t think I’ve heard the story of the tree battered by the harsh winds. If I heard it as a child, I don’t remember it. I was out for a walk and saw the gnarled tree trunk. I googled to find out that, theoretically, a tree will seek water from the earth by hugging the ground to survive drought. Sorrow has a place in forming our character, and we trust that it makes us stronger. I think it does. Blessings to you, Patti…


  3. jannatwrites says:

    My parents had a Mesquite tree that adapted the best it could (it did finally have to be removed, but the wood made for some wonderful campfires.)

    I do think adversity makes us stronger and teaches us. I also think it can help us remember to be thankful and grateful for the times when we are comfortable.


    • Hi Janna. Is the tree in my photo a Mesquite? I don’t know the names of trees. I tried to figure it out by looking at tree images on Google, but I couldn’t see the leaves well enough. Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you that going through trial and hardship causes us to be more grateful for the good times. Blessings to you…


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