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Facing Adversity

David by Adam ShawO Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.  You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. —Psalm 139: 1-3

How do we feel when we run from danger? Most likely, we have no blood-thirsty king dogging our heels, but there are times when it seems that no matter which way we turn, our enemies turn with us. Our every move is mirrored by the movement of that which we most want to flee.

David is running for his life. Saul is after him, hunting him down like “one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.” (1 Samuel 26: 20) The solitary David bolts from town to town asking the help of Israelite priests and Philistine kings, barely ahead of Saul’s army and his spear.

What are we to make of these getaways? Perhaps the most important aspect is David’s repeated requests for guidance. Even in his haste, he takes time to turn to God, to listen and to respond in faith to what he is hearing.

The words of Psalm 139 illumine that David continues to depend on God for direction. For David, the Lord is there always. No matter where he flees, no matter who is coming fast behind him, God is with him—knowing him better than he knows himself, actively accompanying him on his way.

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.  —Jewish Proverb

No one escapes the struggles of life. Our goodness or our faith do not make us immune from suffering. God never promised that life would be without its painful moments. We are promised that God will be with us no matter what we face. Someone wrote, "Peace does not come with the absence of troubles, but with the conscious realization of adequate resources." God can be found as the supplier of all the resources we need to get through life's difficult moments. 

— Brooks Ramsey 
excerpted from Where do I find God in this world of tragedy and pain? 


When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.  —Ralph Waldo Emerson


The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  —Psalm 9:9


It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others. — Dalai Lama XIV


Before God we are never invisible, never unseen, never ignored.  Our trouble and misery are seen and known for what they are—trouble and misery. God meets us in that deep distress, even when we cannot sense God’s presence.

—Mary Earle
excerpted from Days of Grace, You Behold Trouble and Misery


Everything that is done in this world is done by hope. — Martin Luther


A Prayer for Facing Adversity
There are times, O Lord, when I feel completely helpless to alter the circumstances in my life. I am powerless to turn around a bad economy, or ensure a favorable report from my doctor, or guarantee my spouse will always love me, or make sure I am never in an accident. When I sense that I have no control over what is occurring in my life, my energy lags and fear and frustration begin to overwhelm me. Let your spirit of peace spill freely over me until I recover my inner calm. Help me remember that it is not control that gives me peace, but knowing that I am loved and beloved by the heart of heaven.                                                  

 —Read more Prayers for Living


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. —Psalm 23


It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn. — M. Scott Peck, M.D


Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold... brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it: nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds.

— Victor Hugo 
Les Misérables


Every life has trauma. Many of us suffer repeated traumas. There is an ancient spiritual tradition that the strength of our souls is uniquely created by our particular experiences of woundedness.What gifts can you claim because of your own experience of trauma? The question requires deep searching with clear eyes and a soul strengthened by God’s presence in adversity.  —Lowell Grisham


For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. — Isaiah 41:13


When you face adversity, you need to remind yourself that whatever is trying to defeat you could very well be what God will use to promote you.   — Joel Osteen