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Adversity has a purpose

Title page of Sturm’s Reflections for Every Day of the Year

Today's Devotional

How various are our wants from the first moment of our existence; we are brought into the world with difficulty and should soon be bereft of life if it were not for the kind protection of our friends.… We are weak and fragile, unacquainted with our future destiny; but this was known to God. He foresaw the various events which would attend our early state, and planned his beneficent schemes so as to conduce to our welfare, and determined on the means he would employ to procure us the blessings he designed. From our entrance into the world those causes existed which were to influence our future felicity, and they began to act conformably to his views.

How much our happiness or misery depend on the ideas and situation of our parents, our previous education, examples, and opportunities of improving our various talents! It is God, whose prevailing power dispensed our blessings, and the same mercy directs our adverse scenes. He knew the advantages of sorrow, he knew its sources and its consequences. These are concealed from us, but by degrees they unfold, and convince us in the end that adversity is essential to our real happiness. But they would not produce such salutary effects without the concurrence of many secret and remote causes. This reflection should excite tranquility in our bosoms, since we are protected by an invisible being! a being of infinite wisdom, goodness, and omnipotence, who guarded us in our mother’s womb, who has immutably appointed our condition in life, and term of existence, which no human power can alter; and who has ordained our eternal happiness! How unshaken must be that confidence which rests on the firm foundation of such a hope!

About the author and the source

Christopher Christian Sturm (1740–1786) was a German pastor known for his ardent faith, which found expression in various books of meditations. Today’s devotional is condensed from one of those contemplations.

Christopher Christian Sturm. Reflections for Every Day in the Year on the Works of God in Nature and Providence. London: Bungay: C. Brightly, 1807. 

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