“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other…” (Ecclesiastes 7:14)
When Rick Warren was asked on a talk show how he could explain his wife’s cancer, he responded that he once thought life was a series of mountaintops and valleys, but his experience of life has brought him to the place where he now uses a different metaphor. He is now convinced that life is like a railroad track. The left rail represents this hard reality: there are always adversities in our life because God is more interested in our character than He is in our comfort. The right rail represents the glorious reality that something good is always happening in our life because God is good and He shows us that by the good things He’s consistently doing in our life.
The wisest man who ever lived wrote that when we are experiencing prosperity we should not feel guilty. We should rejoice! But when we experience adversity we should realize that God has appointed them both. To test the philosophy of Rick Warren, think of a scale like the scale of justice. Imagine placing all your problems on the left side of that scale. Then imagine placing all your blessings on the right side of that scale. Don’t be surprised if the scales at least balance, or that the blessings on the right side of the scale far outweigh the problems on the other side.
When problems happen, ask yourself what part of your character God is building in your life through those problems. Then ask God how you can receive the grace to glorify Him through the way you respond to those problems.