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Opportunity Often Exists on the Far Side of Adversity

Gail and I just finished reading the story of Joseph in Genesis. It’s a great example of how opportunity often exists on the far side of adversity.

  • Joseph is set up with his brothers as his father’s favorite
  • Lacking humility
  • Sold into slavery
  • Wrongly accused of rape
  • Forgotten in prison
  • All of this happened before…
  • “It’s God who can interpret dreams”
  • The Answer: Seven years of bounty followed by seven years of famine
  • Freedom! Restoration!
  • Entrusted with opportunity, character formed, and led to unequalled leadership in the land
  • Reconciled with his brothers and reunited with his father

Deep, deep adversity for Joseph led to a long inner journey on the way to the largest opportunity!

I have several thoughts and a generous invitation!

  • The lingering pandemic is presenting its share of adversities to individuals and to churches alike.
  • Prior to the pandemic the church was ill-equipped to engage a dismissive culture toward Christianity—mostly locked into doing programs that failed to engage the lost around them. (Download the epub or a PDF of the Church in 2030 ebook.)
  • Our church systems fundamentally reward leaders to keep doing what is already not working.
  • While you and your church might want to make a pivot toward a more effective future, the sense of loss and the fear of the uncertain wins almost every time. Anxiety trumps forward movement.

That’s why the long inner journey prompted by adversity is oftentimes prerequisite to opportunity! 

Is it possible that the pandemic—painful as it is—could catalyze the “long inner journey” opportunity for you and your church to engage the community around you differently? 

There’s no doubt the prolonged pandemic has resulted in adversity and fatigue. But, can it give way to opportunity?

And now, here’s the invitation!

I spoke with Jim and Carol Martin earlier this week. Though now retired, they’ve been engaged as mentors and champions for PLI since its beginning.

Jim & Carol Martin

They’ve had a dream of providing a space and an opportunity for pastors and spouses and church workers and their spouses to retreat for reflection, restoration & renewal in a peaceful, healing environment. They long to further the ministry by providing a space like this for leaders like you.


Nestled in North Carolina, near the Smoky Mountains between Ashville, NC, and Gatlinburg, TN. It’s an opportunity to be alone or to be engaged with a couple of seasoned, caring leaders. They’ve fashioned a downstairs private suite for their guests. You can see some pictures of the accommodations here

First come. First served.

The PLI family is full of generous people who care about each other and long to bless each other in surprising ways. If you’re interested, as a piece of your own long, inner journey, you can contact them here for more information.

So…here are 3 simple questions and an action:

How was your church doing pre-pandemic at engaging people around you with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 

Is there opportunity on the far side of pandemic adversity? What’s a next step?

Is the Martins’ generosity a possible blessing you should explore?

Finally… share this blog with several other leaders in your church and invite them to respond to the questions above.

One Response

  1. Patra Mueller says:

    Jock and Gail, Thanks for all you are doing.
    Thanks for your encouragement and for providing opportunities for leaders to be renewed. I greatly appreciate you!

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