Spiritual Lessons Adversity Teaches Us


More than one F4 tornado descended on a number of cities in Alabama last month leaving in their wake death, injuries and the complete loss of buildings, homes, cars and trucks. Power lines, transformers, and poles lay tangled in grotesque heaps intertwined with clay bound roots of toppled trees; nature’s once verdant landscape resembling a war torn battlefield. Such utter devastation boggles the mind. Countless thousands of people have been left to bury their dead, pray for the injured and pick through rubble to try and find even the smallest memento of a life remembered before April 27, 2011.

Someone finding a crumpled photograph amidst the debris, clutches this treasured keepsake, more precious than gold, as tears of thanksgiving run down his face. When we think about adversity most of us cannot relate on such a profound level. Yet, these brave souls who have no idea whatsoever about tomorrow’s future have gathered in the crushed bricks and broken foundations of their former houses of worship to pray. They thank God for lives spared and ask for strength to carry on.

Adversity Teaches Humility:

Adversity teaches us that we’re human. We are not in control. We can’t do everything ourselves.

Years of academic achievement, careful investments, and hard work become insignificant and meaningless in the face of nature’s fury. Suddenly those fortunate enough to have lived through the terror descending from the sky are equal in status and rank to their poverty stricken, uneducated brothers and sisters.

Nature didn’t pick and choose to single out anyone as more deserving based on class, education or wealth. Her wrath was swift and unmerciful irrespective of race, color or creed. The mangled Mercedes and 20 year old Chevy pickup, as well as the Tudor brick mansion and ramshackle mobile home, have equal value when leveled by a tornado.

Adversity teaches that beneath the trappings of the façade we wear, we are all kindred in spirit. We all suffer, we all cry, we all hope, we all must reach out to others for support and strength.

Adversity Teaches Perseverance:

Adversity teaches us that we have two choices and no others. We can give up or we can push on. At times like this, there are not a lot of decisions to make. Life has been reduced to the elemental choice of living or dying.

In the wake of such dire circumstances, we may not have any idea where we’re going, what tomorrow will bring. We only know that if we push through today, we’ll get to tomorrow and so it will be as each day follows the next.

Options about where to eat, what kind of car to buy, where to shop are off the board. It is through the kind hearts and generosity of volunteer strangers that food, shelter, and clothing are provided. But those humbled by adversity learn to be grateful for the kindness of strangers and find renewed strength to cope, endure and persevere.

Adversity’s Spiritual Lessons for All:

Adversity teaches all of us, whether victims, volunteers or witnesses that we aren’t as invincible as we may think we are, we aren’t in control all the time but in unexpected ways, we are stronger than we may have ever realized.

  • The spiritual lessons of adversity teach us that it is oftentimes in weakness that we find strength and that when we have lost all we found more than we ever owned.
  • Adversity brings with it a deeper appreciation for life. Our life and the lives of others become infinitely more precious.
  • Adversity imparts an attitude of gratitude. No matter how much or how little we have, we no longer take anything for granted.

There is no way to guarantee that we will escape adversity but if and when it happens to be assured that we will emerge from the rubble of a shattered life with a strength that was forged in a life- transforming fire and we’ll never be the same.

What kind of adversity have you experienced in life? What did you learn from the experience? Do you feel you could have learned the same lessons any other way?

Nancy Hartzog

Guest Author Nancy Hartzog

This insightful article on the spiritual lessons that adversity teaches us was written by guest author Nancy Hartzog. You can find more interesting insights about how to meet the challenges of life on Nancy’s (no longer existing) website fuel2drive.com, where she provides very valuable information for everyone that strives for peace, happiness and contentment in his life.

What are the important spiritual lessons that adversity has taught you in your life?

Photo by Jamiesrabbits


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  1. Nancy, thank you very much for sharing this wonderful article with us! I think I’ll start answering your closing question and I hope many readers will follow!

    The type of adversity I experienced in my life wasn’t so much a natural disaster, but a personal one – in form of a disease. Luckily, I got cured from it, but it changed my life nonetheless. I esteem the value of life even higher than I did before; I look at things from another perspective and it helped me to know what really is important in life, which is not money and tangibles.

    It was a very painful time, but I wouldn’t want to miss the “wisdom on life” I gained through this experiences. I would say that adversity can be regarded as an very important (but hurtful) lesson in life, if it wasn’t for all the people who have died through it and the millions who had to suffer through it.

  2. Nancy Hartzog on

    Am so glad that you were cured from your illness. I am thankful I have never had to suffer that adversity but I feel that the many people like you, who did (or do) have experienced many lessons that have enriched their lives.
    When everything is “coming up roses,” as the saying goes, we tend to coast along taking our good fortune more or less for granted but adversity gives us a deeper look into what’s really important and what’s less so or insignificant by comparison.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great post, Nancy! Your words of wisdom couldn’t have come at a better time for me. One of my favorite mentors suddenly passed on, and I am grateful for your timely post. Please venture over to my website if time permits; it would be a blessing to have you and/or Steve leave your sentiments–given the subject matter. Have a blessed week ahead.

    • Nancy Hartzog on

      Sorry to hear about the loss of one of your favorite mentors. In the midst of your grief you are probably remembering with gratitude all that your mentor gave you. Right? Thank you for taking the time to comment and mention that the article was helpful for you at this time.

  4. Dear Nancy, taking into account that you were writing about the topic so abundant as impact of adversity on our life and personal development I would not agree that you wrote a great article. There is so much to be said regarding this, in spiritual, physical, psychological, sociological and philosophical aspect and you covered only a small piece, analysing mostly consequences of natural disaster. In today’s world we aren’t suffering that much from the above mentioned but mostly from our inner demons and diseases. I don’t want to you this space to write a detailed critique of the article, but I hope you get my point.

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