These are trying and difficult days that we live in. We are at war with a relentless and formidable enemy that has no respect for innocent life. His influence goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when satan deceived Adam and Eve, which brought the world and man under the curse of sin. One of the aspects of the sin curse is the constant barrage of violence that is prevalent all around the world. Here in the United States our schools, colleges and shopping malls are on constant alert against threats of violence as we have so tragically seen illustrated in the last few weeks. Not only does the enemy carry out his diabolical activity through violence upon innocent life, but we also find that many families are under the strain of conflict and disharmony from within, which is also perpetrated and instigated by satan. "...your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8)
Adversity can be encountered in many different ways. It may be on a scale of grand magnitude as we have witnessed in Newtown, Connecticut, or it may be on a much smaller and personal level as in the adversity we experience in our lives each and everyday. The Bible tells us in the book of Job that, "man that is born of woman is a few days and full of trouble." As is often the case, we have either just come through an experience of adversity, we are now in a state of adversity, or we are headed for adversity. This is generally the cycle of life.
Since adversity is a quality of life that seems to be axiomatic, how do we then deal with adversity when it comes our way? I can think of no greater example than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, a man well acquainted with adversity.
Pastor Randy Mason
Jesus tells us in John chapter 16 that, "in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." To those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, Jesus is saying that we will most assuredly encounter adversity, but we need not take a fatalistic approach to life and allow the adversity to steal our joy, peace and contentment. Jesus says, "be of good Cheer." Jesus has made every provision for the believer to live the Christian life successfully while experiencing adversity.
God is most definitely concerned with our plight, but what God wants us to understand is that His purpose is not always to deliver us from the adversity, but to deliver us while we walk in the midst of adversity.
We often have the expectation that God owes it to us to deliver us from every trial and struggle that comes our way. However, when the reality of the situation does not meet our expectations and we find ourselves in the midst of adversity we sometimes become despondent, discouraged, disillusioned and find ourselves blaming God for our calamity when God never promised to remove the adversity, but rather He will deliver us in the midst of adversity and provide for us "good cheer."
So what is God's formula for overcoming adversity? The formula can be found in Psalms 91. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust".
The secret place of the most High is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our refuge and fortress. As we trust Him as our Savior and then as we continue to abide in His presence through prayer, meditating upon His word and walking by faith, He will deliver us in the midst of the adversity and give us the strength to "be of good cheer" during trying and difficult times.
God uses the strain of life to build spiritual strength in the life of the believer. Our character is built as we dwell in the secret place of the most High where we have communion with our Savior. If we have been dwelling in the secret place of the most High as every believer ought to be, when the adversities of life come our way our lives will reveal the character of the One in whom we have been dwelling with-the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the greatest hindrances that prevents us from being all that God wants us to be is our unwillingness to constantly dwell in the secret place of the most High. Whether our adversities are personal, political, or otherwise we can still be overcomers and live in a state of "cheer" if we will put our faith and confidence in the One who has overcome the greatest of all adversity-the Lord Jesus Christ.