Tuesday, April 26, 2011


When I came off the field the last thing on my mind was to immediately take on another intense and challenging time in my life. Little did I know that the most challenging part of AIM was about to begin. In the years following AIM I grew more than I did while I was actually in AIM. The interesting thing is, those years where the most adversity filled in my life so far.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I dream of easier times. That’s why the lottery is so popular. People love to dream of easier times. But imagine what life would be like with out any problems or challenges.

For most of us, being thrown in jail for our faith or having to fight a giant to the death
would qualify as bad luck. But for most people in the Bible, without those extreme
adverse situations they would have faded from scripture. Bad circumstances have a
way of bringing out the best in us. Fighting giants creates strength just like roughs seas
create good sailors. Adversity is often a blessing in disguise.

Astronauts who spend any length of time in zero gravity experience serious medical
complications. Without any resistance they can barely walk after reentering the earth’s
atmosphere. Sound familiar? We may dream of an easy life but what we need is a healthy dose of adversity. We need some giants to fight.

I’m convinced that the people that God used most are the people who experienced the
most adversity. Adversity can produce an increased capacity to serve God. Think of
all the people that you’ve seen who have become successful in the area of their greatest
weakness. Beethoven was deaf, but he became one of the greatest composers who ever
lived. Or, Jim Abbott, former major league pitcher for the Yankees who was born
without a right hand but managed to pitch a no hitter.

What giants have you faced? What is your greatest weakness? God wants to redeem
the greatest adversity you’ve experienced. He wants to recycle the adversity that you’ve
experienced and turn it into ministry.

After AIM, for some reason I thought that because of things like my failings, my
inadequacies, my personal problems, and reverse culture shock all somehow meant that
I should spend less time in ministry. We all know many people who have gone through
terrible times in their life, like the death of a child, or a debilitating addiction and turned
it into ministry to others. God is in the business of recycling your pain and turning it into
someone else’s gain.

What we need to understand is; if you don’t turn your adversity into a ministry, then your
pain remains your pain. But if you allow God to translate your adversity into a ministry,
then your pain becomes someone else’s gain. The more problems you have the more potential you have to help people.

One of the most paralyzing mistakes we make is thinking that our problems somehow
disqualify us from being used by God. But it’s actually the opposite. Your ability to help
others heal is limited to where you’ve been wounded. God comforts us in all our troubles
so that we can comfort others.

No one rolls out the red carpet and invites adversity or tragedy into their life, but our
greatest gifts and passions are often the byproduct of our worst tragedies and failures.
Trials have a way of helping us rediscover our unique purpose in life.

- Jeremy “Tigger” Vass

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tigger. Nice thoughts and very true. I'm sure you hardly remember me (Andrea Kuenning), but you were co-assistants with Cory and Toni, and we all did the Clovis trek every week while I was in AIM in 2000-2001. :) Anyway, it's good to see that God is using you. The years after returning from the field are a tough balancing act. My heart aches for those who get lost in the process. My husband and I are doing our best to help the returning AIMers in our congregation (here in Alaska!) to find their unique purpose and direction for God.