Did you read the reports of what happened in the experimental environment of Biosphere 2?  It's that giant greenhouse outside Tucson, Arizona, where various ecosystems were duplicated for intense scientific study.  Such things as a rain forest, a desert, and even an ocean were synthesized.  Almost every atmospheric condition but one could be created. There was no significant wind.

     The lack of wind inside Biosphere 2 meant that the layers of strong fiber trees grow in a natural environment never developed.  Without that stress, the trees were so weak they could not support their weight for long.  Without the winds that blew them almost to the breaking-point, they didn't develop the strength necessary to support their own branches and leaves.  Just like us, they needed challenge to grow strong.


     Grant it, I like most, do not like to endure difficult moments.   I have been known to even whine from time to time as I go through those tense moments of life.    I aspire to reach Paul’s maturity.  Paul said,  "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong," (2 Corinthians 12:10).   Paul mastered how to handle those difficulties that blew his way.


   How about you?   What harsh conditions are you dealing with today?   How are you handling it?


     Don’t forget that hardship makes you stronger and will help you to reach your greatest potential.   It’s hard to look at it that way because our reaction is always to complain about the rough road, the bad news, and the moment of heartache.  God seems to do His greatest work when we think the situation is impossible.


    Allow me to share three stories with you about people who went through incredible adversity. See if you can identify them as I communicate them.




     This child was born in Port Huron, MI, and was estimated to have an IQ of 81.  He had withdrawn from school after three months and was considered backward by school officials.  The child enrolled two years late due to scarlet fever and respiratory infections, and he was going deaf.  His emotional health was poor.  He was stubborn and aloof, showing very little emotion.  He liked mechanics, and he liked to play with fire, burning down his father's barn.  He showed some manual dexterity but used very poor grammar.  However, he did want to be a scientist and a railroad mechanic.


     Who was he? Thomas Edison, reputedly the greatest inventor of modern times.




     By the age of 10, both of his parents had died.  He was raised reluctantly by an older brother who resented another mouth to feed.  His wife died after 13 years of marriage.  Of 20 children from two marriages, ten of them passed away while still infants.  One died in his 20's, and one was mentally deranged.   Eventually, this outstanding musician went blind and was paralyzed with a stroke. Did this man forsake faith in God?


     Who was he? Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest composer of religious music.




     He dropped out of grade school and was home schooled.  He ran a country store but went broke and it took 19 years to pay off all his bills, but he did pay them off.  He had a law firm, but his partner ran off and left him with debts.  He was married, but his marriage flopped.  His wife came down with mental illness and paranoia.  He had a son who was physically weak and died at a young age.  He ran for political office four times, twice for the house and twice for the senate, and lost all four times.  Ultimately, he held office but was despised by half the country.  Satirists and newsmen derided him on an almost daily basis.  Most audiences felt his speeches were hum-drum.  His classic speech was met with indifference.


     Who was he? Abraham Lincoln.


     Don't short-cut God when you experience adversity.  Ask him, "Lord, what do you want to teach me?"  Remember He told us when we lack wisdom to ask Him.  You should use those hard times as an opportunity to grow.


     Do as Charles Darrow and his wife did,  who themselves suffered tremendous adversity.  They accepted adversity as part of life and refused to allow it to steal their joy.  They worked through it, and God helped them.  They learned through this situation, and they kept laughing.


     Back in 1932 Dorrow was out of a job and broke, and his wife was expecting a baby. Although he was a heating engineer, there were no jobs available and Darrow and his wife were just barely managing to survive on the few odd jobs he could get as a handyman.  Things were bleak.  Dark days did not steal the courage of this man and his wife, however. They laughed at it, literally.  In the evenings, to take their minds off their troubles, they made a little game in which they could pretend they were millionaires, recalling pleasant vacations in nearby Atlantic City.  They reconstructed the area adjoining the boardwalk.  Darrow carved hotels and houses out of small pieces of wood, and they called the game Monopoly.  Three years later, in 1935 the game was marketed by Parker Brothers, and Darrow and his wife became millionaires because they allowed adversity to make them instead of break them.


     When you face adversity, are you going to allow it to break you or make you? It's your choice.


 Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10 - "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong,"