on Adversity

“People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity”. John Adams (1735-1826), second American President

As we get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, the anniversary of our Independence, we must stop to remember that we have our liberties because our forefathers chose to triumph over adversity. The American Revolution lasted eight years, and like today, many men and families suffered through the tough times of war. Back then though, our military was rag-tag, and often went without food, supplies or training. All colonists also had to suffer through regular food & supply shortages, as they were dependent on those smugglers that were able to run the British blockades. I am sure that many wondered if they would ever be victorious, as it seemed quite unlikely that a mere colony would be able to usurp the greatest military on earth. But life in a new land, far away from the old, gave birth to fresh new ideas of liberty. Our colonial ancestors saw the results of their hard work, and desired to be in charge of their own destiny so as to preserve all that they had accomplished.

Life in the New World was challenging. Fighting adversity was a daily task for those who chose to live there, and I believe that it was this daily triumph over adversity that made the desire for liberty even greater. Adversity was nothing new and it was the very thing that made them stronger. Today, however, I think that we have become so complacent in our prosperity that the specter of life possibly getting a bit tougher seems to be a scary thing. It is not.

During Revolutionary times you were lucky if you lived past your forties. Life was just hard. Yet these colonists still chose to take on Goliath. Why would one ever risk their short life to do that? Because deep down inside men still yearn to breathe free. They don’t like being told what to do, what they can or cannot say, what they can or cannot earn, or how they can or cannot worship. Even a short life is not worth living if it is controlled by someone else. The adversity they struggled through in their daily lives had shown them that they could triumph, and their faith reminded them that they had the right to be free. Independence was worth fighting for.

Goliath surrendered at Yorktown. The British had severely underestimated this colonial David. They failed to see that beneath all the sweat and dirt of harsh colonial life were muscles, muscles strengthened through adversity. Adversity had not only shown them what they were made of, but how Providence had blessed them; this knowledge gave them the strength to continue to fight until they saw the victory. I believe that if our colonists had an easy life, the American Revolution probably would never have happened. Therefore, dear friends, you should never fear adversity, but embrace it; it will teach you about yourself and it will show you who you are. It will forge creativity and strength, unlocking your ability to triumph despite the obstacles placed in your path. You will see a person’s true character revealed by how they choose to respond to adversity. It is one of life’s filters.

So, will the adversity we see today make us great, or will it make us small? Here in the United States, we are blessed to have the freedom to decide.

Happy 235th Birthday America!

“A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner; neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify for usefulness and happiness. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill, and fortitude in the voyager. The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism worth a lifetime of softness and security.” Author unknown

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