A woman gets bad news from her doctor. A pastor sees another disgruntled family walk out the door for the last time. A man receives a pink slip after eighteen years at the company. A father and mother weep at the grave of their child. A missionary’s visa is revoked.
Adversity comes in all shapes and sizes. Adversity is simply defined as hardship and suffering or an extremely unfavorable experience or event. The word adverse means creating momentum in a direction opposite from that desired.
The question is not whether you will face adversity. You will. The question is whether the adversity will make you quit. Sadly, many good men and women have gotten “out of the race” either during or following a time of adversity. Why do some survive and some do not? Many make the mistake of attributing steadfastness to some heroic effort on man’s part. In reality, steadfastness is nothing more than a faith-filled response to who God is.
In Psalm 62, the phrase “God is” occurs six times. It is no coincidence that after rehearsing who God is, the Psalmist then says, “I shall not be moved.” When we understand who God is and allow Him to display His power in our lives, we can survive adversity.
God Is Our Rock
Psalm 62:2, 6–7 says, “He only is my rock…He only is my rock…the rock of my strength.” Some of life’s adversities come upon us with the suddenness and ferocity of a major earthquake. There may be a few days’ warning of a hurricane or a few minutes’ warning of a tornado, but an earthquake strikes with no warning at all. When a loved one is taken suddenly in a car accident, when a young adult publicly rejects the faith, morals, and values of his parents, when a man abandons his wife and children, these are earthquake trials. These catastrophic events often arrive without warning and leave behind a path of destruction. But throughout the Bible, we see that God is our rock when the ground begins to shake beneath our feet.
God Is Our Defense
Psalm 62:2 says, “He is my defence.” Other adversities don’t arrive unexpectedly like an earthquake. To the contrary, they are quite expected. In fact, they seem to stalk us for a while before attacking. We can see the storm clouds gathering in the distance as the sky darkens and the wind picks up. We can smell the rain in the air. We know it’s coming, but there is nothing we can do to stop it. We can see across the horizon as the enemy forms regiments and prepares to do battle. The rapid decay of our culture, the increasing hostility to Christ and His church, and the loss of religious freedoms are all looming large. In times like these, God is a defense, a fortress, and a strong tower in which we may hide.
God Is Our Refuge
Psalm 62:7–8 says, “My refuge, is in God…God is a refuge for us.” A refuge is defined as that which protects from danger, distress, or calamity. A shelter is that which defends from injury or annoyance. Don’t miss that last word—annoyance. Some people seem to struggle the most with the small, day-to-day adversities that pile upon us. Not really earthquakes or Satanic attacks, they are just the realities of everyday life! Like the infamous Chinese water torture, they drip on us incessantly. Bills pile up. Things break. Critics perform their “ministry.” High maintenance people call or drop by. While it rains on both the just and the unjust, there is an umbrella available to protect us from this daily deluge. God is a refuge for His people.
Steadfastness does not come from who I am, but who God is! It’s okay to be wobbly-kneed when the earthquakes of life hit as long as you are standing on a solid rock. It’s okay to be weak as long as you have a strong fortress in which to hide. The key to being steadfast in times of adversity is to make sure you are on the Rock, behind the Defence, and under the Refuge. How is this accomplished? Psalm 62:8 says, “Pour out your heart before him.” It is only as we spend private and daily time with God that our lives are properly positioned for survival. We need not fall when He is our Rock; we need not be destroyed when He is our Defence; we need not be overwhelmed when He is our Refuge.