Summary: Character and substance are shaped in the crucible of adversity

Casting your Cares on the Lord

Ps 55:22 NIV, gives us a wonderful promise:

22 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

These words are so dear to us, especially since mankind has always struggled with adversities.

1.Every since Adam and Eve were cast from the garden, mankind has faced distress.

2.It has come in many different ways and in many different forms. But regardless of the method, the struggle is just as real.

Biblical truth concerning adversity

It is significant that the oldest book of the Bible deals with adversity. Job was written even before Genesis. The trials Job faced and the questions he struggled with have puzzled the whole of human philosophy and theology for several millenniums.

Job, in his reasoning summed it up this way;

(Job 14:1), "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." That would include us all!

A.A great lesson we can learn is this: Character and substance are shaped in the crucible of adversity.

We live in a skin-deep world. Our culture glorifies clothing, fashion, makeup, tummy tucks, and nose jobs. There may be nothing wrong with any of these, but in the end they are only cosmetic. Someone who lives a carefree life with no problems or trials usually will never grow spiritually in life.

Ron Mehl, a pastor who has battled cancer, summarizes this point succinctly:

“[Disruptive moments] always leave us with a list of things to clean up and fix. They are times when God restores to us the things we lose through negligence, ignorance, rebellion, or sin. For the Christian, [disruptive moments] are no-lose propositions. They help us to see and acknowledge the loose shutters, missing shingles, and rotten fence posts in our lives while turning us back to the only One who can make the necessary repairs.” 6

Unless there is pain in the formula, we will never stop to listen carefully to what He is saying.

We’ll be moving along happily, thinking we’re going somewhere—but in reality, we’re only spinning our wheels. We’re not making any progress at all toward the deeper things our Father longs to show us. Sometimes He must allow us to stumble along the everyday journey. We’re wounded and filled with pain, yet our disaster is just the opposite of what it seems; it’s the demonstration of God’s “tough love”—His determination to teach us and to make us wiser and stronger.

Life, then, brings all of us disruptions. It’s up to us to choose our response. It can make us bitter, or it can make us better.

If we choose to let the disruptive moment make us better, we will toughen up. We will face the bend in the road with courage.

Listen again to Gordon MacDonald: “The spiritual masters have taught us … that the one who would get in touch with his soul must do so with diligence and determination. One must overcome feelings, fatigue, distractions, errant appetites, and popular opinion. One must not be afraid of silence, of stillness, or of entering the overpowering presence of divinity with a humble spirit.”7

6 Ron Mehl, Surprise Endings (Sisters, Oreg.: Multnomah, 1993), 60.

7 MacDonald, The Life God Blesses, 42.

Jeremiah, David: A Bend in the Road. Nashville, Tenn. : Word Pub., 2000, S. 21

B. In these times of adversity, we can find comfort and strength from a familiar passage: Psalms 23 KJV

23:1 A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The Great truth of Psalm 23

• Give me ten million dollars, and one reversal of fortune may scatter it. Give me a spiritual hold on the divine assurance that “the LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1), and I am set for life. I cannot go broke with this stock in my hand. I can never be bankrupt with this security.

• Climb the creaking staircase of your house, lie down on your hard mattress, wrap yourself in a blanket, and look out for the winter of hard times. But do not say, “What shall I do?” Just hum, “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” This will be the hush of a lullaby to your soul, and you will soon slumber peacefully.

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