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Advancing Through Adversity

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

David Brownfield

I met David many years ago. Our relationship started in a professional counseling setting but quickly moved into mentorship. Today he is a devoted friend and co-worker in Christ. I hope that you enjoy his entry. -Dr. Stephen Phinney

This year has begun as a difficult, uphill battle that has been insurmountable for me at times but I am thankful for every moment of it. Here is why I say this, as the calendar turns as I write: 4-26-21 thru 5-28-21. I am understanding what this word means; {Insurmountable: def./ “too great to be overcome.” Oxford Language Dictionary}

January started me off with it’s first course of adversity that I did not know was on the menu. I was served a surprise accident, in a fall down my basement stairs resulting in a head wound and a concussion. February brought financial turmoil that seemed at the time, to be insurmountable. The third course of this wonderful feast was served cold, in March when my wife and family divorced me. April revealed that Squamous Cell skin cancer needed to be removed from my scalp. During all of this, my right hip joint has been giving me excruciating pain that I have had to endure and work through to continue my work and manage my lifestyle on my own.

Insurmountable = Too great to overcome. I told myself, “Don’t stop moving forward and don’t forget to breathe”. I have learned many things in these first months of 2021. Thank God for the learning, thank God for ministries like Charles Stanley. Stanley says, adversity is allowed by God, not to destroy us but to bring us closer to our Shepherd. Also, that there are three avenues that adversities are allowed into our lives and I see and believe these are true and very real. Each of these situations can be debilitating on its own but also, they can occur individually to us or any combination of these origins can come at the same time.

1) Adversity comes to us from God’s discipline or correction

2) Adversity comes to us through our enemy the devil

3) Adversity comes to us through our own sin consequence

Rev. Stanley explains that the Sovereignty of God is over all things. What I’ve learned through that single teaching, is that God Himself, is insurmountable. He is “too Great to be overcome”. This is why He wants us close to Him, to know Him as Father. He is our Protector, Councilor, Advocate, Redeemer, King, Healer, Savior, Deliverer and our ever-present help in times of trouble.

The Lord has shown in a powerful way, His undying love for me. He has also taught me through adversity to hate sin and hate the devil and his cohorts, including my own sin nature or worldly identity.

This mindset of advancing uphill, no matter the loss of what is precious to me, has eternal value because it is my Faith that has come to life and brought hope and stability to my identity in Christ. This is my root system. I have had to let some things go that I certainly did not want to go away. The Lord has pruned me back so I can bear fruit for His calling in my life. This doesn’t make life easier; it makes me completely dependent upon my God, who is insurmountable in His Lordship, unconditional love and tender mercies.

So, having said all this, I have a new year, or the rest of this one, to advance with this new outlook toward adversity. I can advance in ways that I have never been successful with. Focusing on my destiny in the Lord and knowing that my days are numbered is a good thing. The work I am created to do is not based on what I do to earn a living. I am living what Jesus has earned for me, on the Cross. My real work is maintaining who I am in Christ by keeping myself humble, broken and pliable before the Lord. Psalm 51:17 says that our broken spirit and contrite heart is our sacrifice which is acceptable to God, or makes me usable for Him. Romans 12:1 says, that our “Reasonable Service” to God is to become “living sacrifices.” This is certainly something to be grateful for and I give thanks each day for it. Adversity sets the stage for this transformation into the person we were created to be. After all, it’s not what we do in life that determines who we are. It’s who we become in life that determines what we do. Our identity in the world we are born into is temporary and false. Our real I.D. comes from our exchanged life with God by the Cross of Salvation. We become born again and a new creation. This is work. We don’t just sit back and enjoy this new life. We have a calling and a purpose with our new identity. This Work brings challenges and steep climbs after long falls. But we get up each day and go to work, thanking God for the work He is doing in us. Philippians 1:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition 6 “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you”.

Now, I begin and end each day as if it were my last. I hope I never lose this mindset and I Pray I never become complacent, by not being thankful to God for each day that He is creating in me the way to get closer to Him and “work” my Faith. Let His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven! Knowing God is learning of Him and His will for us.

Applying learned experience

R2-A2 Means to Recognize, Relate – Assimilate and Activate (W. Clement Stone. General Training and motivationg to succeed). I will break-down into my own translation. In a nutshell, I am to look at where I am now. Recognize the situation, and understand how I got here by Relating to my journey. Assimilation, or make this understanding a part of me and realize in the long run, I am here now because I chose to take the steps to get here. Now, in order to advance, I must realize that many, many people never advance because they see no need to, or ability to advance, or go beyond the current situation. Since I am not relying on my own understanding, I need a game plan to advance from where I am, to get where I am supposed to be. This may also take team members to tackle my situation which in turn takes humility to accept the fact that there are team members that God places along the way. This is the family of God. He is our Father, as well as Shepherd. There is no such thing, within the realm of advancement, as the saying, “I got this.” Thinking that we can go our own way and succeed in the end is the way of death. Action we take in knowing and doing these three things to advance by believing God, walking by Faith, not by sight.

The world and it’s kingdom of darkness has been paving a broad highway of logic, (based on the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), since the fall of man in Eden. Thomas Brooks writes: “The voice of Satan says, if ever you would be free from the dark night of adversity and enjoy the sunshine of prosperity, you must walk in their ways.”(of the world) Brooks then refers to the Scripture in Jeremiah 44: 15-18; “15 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, and all the women who stood by—a great assembly—even all the people who dwelt in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: 16 As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to or obey you. 17 But we will certainly perform every word of the vows we have made: to burn incense to the [a]queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her as we have done—we and our fathers, our kings and our princes—in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and prosperous and saw no evil. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”

This rebellion against God’s Word and Will does nothing more but reaffirm the fact that the narrow way, mapped out by God’s perfect will, is paved with built-in adversity, not to hinder us, but to strengthen and sharpen us and forge/temper our metal into the likeness of the mighty Sword of Truth.

Then we advance, as we forge our chosen way onward and upward, to do the will of the Lord by His guidance, direction and love. Chosen by us, God’s will becomes the path we are chosen for. This is Faith in action. Hebrews 11: 1 Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. 2 For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.

Brooks again writes: “Doing of such and such heavenly services may lay you open to the frowns of men, but the neglect of them will lay you open to the frowns of God. The doing of them may render you contemptable in the eyes of men but the neglect of them may render you contemptable in the eyes of God.”


Advancing through adversity is victory. The victory is God’s Glory and He shares it with us as He shares His own Spirit with us! To try and succeed or advance under our own vainglorious imaginings is not victory at all but merely a temporary advancement, along a broad superhighway of smooth and comfortable surface, paved with the good intentions devised by the carnal society of human endeavor. This is the insurmountable path toward the destruction of fallen man. Choosing the narrow way of obedience, humility and fellowship is the road to life that is abundant and eternal. It is a way that is marked by obstacles and adversity but we have an insurmountable King of Glory who leads us every step of the way because He loves us unconditionally and irrevocably.

We are born into a world of sin, bearing our own sinful nature. The wages of sin is death. There were two trees in the Garden of Eden. One is the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the other is the Tree of Life. God gave Adam a choice of Life or Death.

Moses presented the Law of God’s commands and statutes to Israel, saying, “I have set before you Life and Death. Choose life”.

The Cross of Calvary says the same thing but Jesus makes it even more obvious. He said at the last supper, “Do this in remembrance of me”, as He broke the bread and shared it. When we take Communion we accept the brokenness and share it with God by taking up our own Cross and brokenness. Jesus shows us the completeness of Death and life and then steps in, to take the payment of death for us. Then says, here is life, just believe in me! Still again, Jesus, the Great Teacher says, “John 12:24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

We are a crop for the Kingdom of God. We live because of seed time and harvest. Seedlings grow in strength, if the winds of adversity test and build a solid root system in the plant, by challenging it’s strength and ability to stand firm.

The seed that the Lord places in us through our calling and purpose should not return to the ground void, (in death), but is meant to be broken open and germinate Christlikeness to a multitude in fruitfulness. His Word will not return void but forever endeavors to prosper. Even as the word of God quoted in this writing, as well as the words of those Saints who have crossed over from Death into Life that are mentioned, have been a blessing to the fruitfulness of my own understanding of Christianity. If I had not been under the lovingkindness and watchful disciplines of My Father in Heaven, I would never have been motivated to search out the wonderful teachings of God. The Saintly authors, declaring the Glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ have enabled me to grasp and pass on this baton like a relay, as I intend to finish my race in life. One day we will all celebrate in Heaven and cast our crowns to the feet of our beloved Savior, Jesus!

To the Glory of God, I am eternally grateful to these Saints of Truth: Thomas Brooks, Watchman Nee, Douglas Wilson, Paul Washer, Johnathan Edwards, John Wesley, John Owen, A.W. Pink, Bill Johnson, John Eckhart, Neil Anderson, Smith Wigglesworth, Derek Prince, F.F. Bosworth, Stephen Phinney, Paul Butterfield, Jim Tausz and Charles Stanley.


Footnotes: {a} – “Queen of Heaven” - A goddess of fertility, probably the Babylonian title for Ishtar. She is identified with the planet Venus. Offerings to this goddess included cakes made in the shape of a star.

Ref: Thomas Brooks – “Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, being a Companion for Christians of All Denominations” 1810

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