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Overcoming and Enduring Adversity with Christ

Chelsea Thompson - March 02, 2016

fellowship, lunch, meet and eat, perseverance, sisters, women, Yvonne Welch

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth has pain because her time has come: but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy...I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. -Jn 16.20-22,33

This past Saturday, South Church sisters & guests gathered at the Dobson's home for a generous extension of hospitality during the "Women's Meet and Eat". Elyse and several helpers prepared a beautiful meal and delicious dessert while the fellowship and warmth prepared others to hear Yvonne Welch's message on Overcoming Adversity.

Yvonne shared of her own experience with depression, anxiety, stress, and hope. She spoke of her life reared as a Chrisitan and how God was faithful in answering prayer for a godly husband. But she also talked about how, shortly after her marriage, she became discontent and angry with him. Her disillusioned belief that the Christian life should be easy & pain-free was quickly challenged as God allowed circumstances of adversity to reveal the true state of Yvonne's sinful heart. As she struggled to submit to her husband, to being a mother of four children, and to faithfulness in ministry, depression and anxiety set in. Fear began to govern, and proved a detriment to productivity. At one point, she even checked herself into the hospital, persuaded she was dying. Truth is, Yvonne was dying.

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. -James 1.15

Yvonne's depression and anxiety caused physical exhaustion and a wasting away, but the root of desire to "rule over her husband" in this situation led to the sin of anger and bitterness which then began to give birth to spiritual death. The exposure of our sin is the path for all who come to Christ. Due to our sinful hearts and our need for a Savior, our Shepherd must lead us through dark valleys so He can make us lie down in green pastures, lead us beside quiet waters, refresh our soul, and, for His namesake, guide us along the His path (Psalm 23).

As the Welches sought the Lord in His Word & prayer, God was faithful not only to deliver physical resolve over time but to continue His work of sanctification in Yvonne.

For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity... -Jeremiah 29.11-14

The paradox of coming to Christ is that the deep waters and fiery trials are God's means of grace. Perseverance through suffering leads to character (we are being conformed to the character of Christ), and character leads to hope, and hope in God leads to knowing His love in our hearts. (Romans 5.3-5) And that produces joy!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. -Isaiah 43.2

We are daily dependent on God for the very breath in our lungs, for all of our needs. We can do nothing of ourselves. But an eternal perspective of our Father's sovereign will leads us to ask Him to do the work in our lives we cannot do ourselves. Therein we embrace hardships--not as punishment, but--as privilege of our inheritance and sonship!

This resonates so deep within me, and I sincerely and earnestly pray this for our church! I also pray that more women will join us next time for fellowship as God always personalizes His message to us and unites us in His Spirit.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. -Matthew 7.13-14

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. -Hebrews 10.35-36

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? ... For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12.7,11

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. -Psalm 27.13-14

May the joy of the Lord be our strength as He "bestows a crown of beauty instead of ashes" (Isaiah 61.3) and we one day proclaim,

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. -Psalm 30:11-12