Adversity: Catalyst to a Call
"Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything" (Acts 9:8-9).
It's hard to find anyone in Christian history who became a great leader without earning an advanced degree in adversity.
To look at John Wesley (1703- 1791), you wouldn't have thought of him as a great Christian leader. He was just over five feet tall and skeletally thin. In his early years, he suffered greatly from feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and a morbid fear of death. Though he didn't understand the Christian gospel, he devoted himself to doing good works for the poor in an effort to earn his way to heaven. While in his early thirties, he sailed to America to do missionary work among the American Indians.
While crossing the Atlantic, Wesley's ship passed through a violent storm that broke the main mast off its base and nearly sank the ship. As the waves crashed over the ship, Wesley huddled in terror, knowing he didn't have peace with God. He survived the storm, and continued to struggle in his relationship with God for several more years.
Finally, back in London, he attended a meeting on Aldersgate Street, where he heard a preacher say that salvation comes by faith in Christ alone. At that point, he said, "I felt my heart strangely warmed."
Soon after that, Wesley began preaching the gospel. His fifty-two-year preaching ministry became the foundation of the modern evangelical movement. But it never would have happened if John Wesley had not been tossed on the stormy seas of adversity.
Adversity is often God's manure for spiritual callings.
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