Adversity: Good for Software, Good for the Soul
Yesterday, I spoke at Hackformers on the topic of Adversity. The premise was that adversity is ultimately good for software as it makes it stronger and as a result: rugged. I took a big bite at the apple and decided to extend that premise to the soul as well. I should step back for a second and say that @hackformers is a Christian organization of Information Security professionals. We get together monthly to chat security and discuss how it affects our personal and spiritual lives. So for the group, merging the two areas of professional lives and personal lives is a natural fit.
Hackformers has a 3-fold goal for each meeting: Teach Security, Teach Christ, Teach Security in Christ. It could also be said as: Information Security, Biblical insight, Personal application.
For the Teach Security portion of my talk, I have broken those slides out and uploaded them to slideshare in a talk titled: Adversity: Good for Software.
The main premise I make in the slides is what I refer to as Ruggedization Theory, stated as: Building solutions to handle adversity actors will cause unintended, positive benefits that will provide value that would have been unrealized otherwise. I go on to define Adversity Actors as: Those who regardless of intent or scope cause real or perceived negative actions and events that prohibit normal function and operation.
I think the case for this is strong and apparent at the outset. We have numerous real-world analogies and proverbs. If it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger. No Pain, No Gain. It makes sense that we build our code to withstand certain adversity actors, we will see positive benefit in other areas.
At this point, I moved into a discussion on what this looks like from a Biblical perspective. This fits into the “Teach Christ” vision of @hackformers. I shared how pain is the most common objection to the faith—and we discussed the different variations on how scholars have addressed this particular objection. For brevity, I am skipping this here, but feel free to ask me or to the @hackformers group at large. The two verses I shared on the subject of adversity and its causal nature of benefiting the soul are James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. - James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. - Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
For the last section of the @hackformers,Teach Security in Christ, I talked about my journey in life through hard times. I mentioned medical issues and other trying situations I have had, but the focal point of this section was the hardest time of my life: On March 1, 2007 I lost my brother to suicide. The grief from that event was harder and bigger than I could bear. This loss was way past the theory of adversity. How could good become of this? It wasn’t until I realized three things after walking several years through my journey.
- My future hope is not here, it is in heaven. Things here on earth will never be “right” and it is only until the future restoration of heaven.
- The world is a broken and dying place. This earth, even with the joy we sometimes experience, is fleeting. Again, I look to future restoration.
- Hope in Christ is the only hope.
Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels… - 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7
The verses show that we look to the day when the Jesus is revealed from heaven. Until then, we keep enduring and building character and above all keep the hope.