In his introduction to this book, Dr. Charles Stanley tells us that adversity is handled in one of two ways- either people are committed to the process of spiritual maturity and growth or they put themselves in what the author calls a “spiritual coma”, unable to change their perspective on adversity by opening their eyes to God’s faithfulness.
Dr. Stanley presents 5 contrasting responses to adversity to enable people to focus on God’s perspective. First, whether the source of adversity is God, one’s own doing, or Satan, far more important than the source is one’s response. Second, that response is either one of anger or an understanding that adversity is God’s most effective tool for strengthening faith and commitment. Third, asking God why from a position of doubt is not nearly as significant or faith-building as asking how to respond. Directly related to response is whether adversity is something God does to you or for you. The final contrast is considering adversity as a fair trade-off for spiritual growth (human perspective) versus viewing adversity from God’s perspective.
The author then presents 5 reasons why God allows adversity:
1. to get our attention- when we get too preoccupied with ourselves we lose our spiritual sensitivity. As Dr. Stanley astutely observes, “When nothing is wrong, we falsely assume everything is right.
2. as a form of discipline perfectly suited to our needs.
3. for self-examination: we must be committed to doing God’s will and have a desire to grow.
4. to conquer our pride
5. to equip us to comfort others
Those who are familiar with Dr. Stanley’s “In Touch” television or radio ministry will recognize his warm, conversational style in this book. You almost can feel him sitting right beside you.