Truly Overcoming Adversity



         Often, many of us face trials and tribulations in life that we do not deal with in a positive light.  The stress of our jobs, various family issues, personal relationships, and of course, today’s economy, are all critical issues that makes it difficult in overcoming adversity that so many of us are fighting with to resolve our life’s battles. 

            Recently, Regal Magazine had the opportunity to speak with a young man who has dealt fearlessly with overcoming adversity, and transforming his life by becoming a teacher of the Christian faith.

            William Fitten, who calls himself, “Street Preacher,” preaches the Gospel in the ghettos of Cleveland to sick people in the hospitals, at all the major sporting events, concerts, clubs, bars, and as he says, “Anywhere the Lord sends him.” 

Fitten went through some serious critical issues in his life.  However, due to his strength, along with his faith and trust in God, he prevailed in overcoming adversity in his life.

            Fitten was raised in a well-known Baptist church in the Cleveland area.  Unfortunately, during the late 1980s until 1993, he was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and was faced with the serious possibility of losing his wife and his children.  He found himself having to choose between his addictions and/or his family.  He feels that he was like the Apostle Paul, whom indicated in the Bible, in II Timothy 3:5 – “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” 

He had to allow God to come into his life and help him in overcoming adversity, and transform him to remove the alcohol, the drugs, and other negative issues from his life.  Fitten indicated that in order for him to do this, he had to acknowledge, confess and repent his sins before God.  He did just that, and asked Jesus Christ to save him and through His power, He was able to do for him what Fitten could not do for himself.  He has been following Christ ever since.  That’s truly overcoming adversity!

Fitten experienced various obstacles in overcoming adversity in his life.  First, he lived in an urban area of the city, where drug dealers were prevalent.  Every time he went to the corner store, he had to pass by the alcohol and beer coolers.  These are the types of things that he feared, as it brought about certain temptations that he knew would hinder him in overcoming adversity, and falling back into the trap of alcohol and drugs. 

In his fight in overcoming adversity, Fitten also separated himself from his siblings, various relatives and so-called friends, until the Lord gave him the strength, the courage, and the wisdom that he needed, so these issues would no longer be a problem for him. 

In his conversation with Regal Magazine, he reflected on a scripture that keeps him from falling and helps him in overcoming adversity, which is: Ephesians 3:20 – “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

Fitten says that power is the Holy Spirit, and it will help every one in their plight toward overcoming adversity and fighting the battles in their lives.

The “Street Preacher” believes that today’s economy is a serious critical issue, and many people fall weak to the problems that they are faced with.  But, he indicated that we must understand that relying on our own flesh is not the answer in overcoming adversity.  In the midst of all of our problems, we should focus on Jesus Christ and trust and believe in Him completely, as this will keep us in perfect peace. 

Fitten reflected on two scriptures, spoken by Jesus Christ, which would help to keep those that are Christians strong in overcoming adversity.  These scriptures are: St. John 16:33 – “In the world ye shall have tribulation: But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world;” and Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  In other words, God will supply all of our needs, as long as we trust and believe in Him.

            Throughout the years, there continues to be a decline of the stability of the African American family.  It is of utmost importance that African Americans maintain their families in a strong, stable and consistent manner, as this is conducive to our re-establishing and re-developing of our communities. 

In overcoming adversity in our families, Fitten advises that the key for Christian homes is for the head of the household to lead by example, and not to be a dictator.  This will allow the rest of the family to see Christ in him.  He further indicates that it is vitally important to have family devotion and Bible study, which is the key to opening up avenues for communication, for discussing any issues that have occurred during the day, or that are present in any family member’s life.  This also gives an opportunity for family members to discuss such life differences and how they relate to the Bible.

            Additionally, much of the decline in the stability of the African American family is due to the lack of understanding and/or willingness of the husband and wife to actively deal with the problems that exist.  It is more than evident that in a considerable amount of marital relationships, the parties get caught up in their own specific individual issues, instead of working together to address and overcome the adversity in their relationship.  It is the responsibility of married couples to maintain the stability and structure in their families. 

Marriage is a sacred and holy commitment, which must not be taken lightly.  With statistics indicating that over half of all marriages in the United States today last less than ten years, African American couples must look to more than the physical and material aspects to keep their marriages intact.  Fitten advises that Christian couples should read, study, and apply the following scriptures to their everyday lives, in order for their marriages to be successful:  Ephesians 5:22-23 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: And He is the Saviour of the body;” and Ephesians 5: 25-28 – “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”

For African American men to overcome the adversity in their lives, Fitten indicates that such is definitely not an easy task, but that it comes from strength and the changing of one’s mindset.  He advised that one must keep the faith, and always read, study and reflect on the word of God.  The Bible states in Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

Fitten acknowledges that the way to do this is to abide in Jesus Christ, by letting go of the things of the world and to lay down one’s life, one’s dreams, and one’s lustful pleasures, and to follow Him.

            According to Fitten, in order for any of us to accomplish the goal of overcoming adversity, we must accept Christ in our lives, as our personal savior, in order for us to maintain the divine spirituality that He wants us to have.  We must “Let go and let God.”


Imani is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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