«If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength Is small» (Proverbs 24:10).
Charles I of Spain and V of Germany (1500-1558) was the son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, the famous Catholic monarchs. As a child, he lost his father and was separated from his mother. His aunt Margaret took care of his education. In January 1516, his grandfather, King Ferdinand of Aragon, wrote his will, naming him governor and administrator of the kingdoms of Spain instead of Joanna of Castile, who was incapacitated to reign. Years later, in 1519, he received the news of the death of his paternal grandfather, Maximilian, while he was in Lérida, on his way to Barcelona. Charles was part of the direct line of succession to the Germanic Holy Roman Empire. But he wasn’t the only one. There was also the one who would be his main rival in the future: Francis 1, king of France. Charles invested a lot of money in obtaining the votes needed to become the head of the empire. In the end, he achieved his task, but the rivalry with the French monarch remained throughout his reign. On several occasions, they fought on the battlefield and maintained a complicated diplomatic relationship. Charles even at one time made a prisoner of his opponent and imposed several policies on him. But once free, the king of France bypassed the agreements and prepared to fight again and again against the emperor. The truth is that Francis did not let Charles rest for a moment and forced him to always put forth his greatest effort in political strategies, which allowed him to consolidate his empire.
Someone may think that Charles V would have had a much less rugged reign without the presence of his belligerent northern neighbor. However, Francois Mignet (1796-1884), the brilliant French historian, saw in the rivalry with Francis I one of the causes of the greatness of the emperor, who began to make mistakes when his eternal opponent disappeared.
Life is full of challenging situations that force us to put forth our greatest efforts. Of course, it would be much more comfortable not to face adverse circumstances, but that is not how character development is achieved. Ellen White says: “Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness”—The Desire of Ages, ch. 7, p. 72.
You will not solve your problems by avoiding them. Difficulties do not solve themselves. You have to face them head on. But don’t forget that you’re not alone. With Jesus by your side, things are very different. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this and grow as a person!