Season of Adversity
Series: Don’t Die In The Winter
Week: January 20 – 26, 2021
Aim: After studying this lesson, students should know without a doubt that in spite of the storms that rage in their life, in spite of the winter season that they are in. . .God is with them and there is no problem too great for our God!
You have been a Christian for many years, or perhaps you are a new Christian; but, as you think back over your life, you realize God has allowed one storm after another to blow through your life – storms of heartache, trial, burden, or tribulation. One after another. Each time you have called on Him and He has spoken to your heart, but He did not say “don’t worry about a thing. Just relax.” NO! He never said that!! But, what He did say was simply “trust Me!” Oh, I know, you have heard people say, “trust me” and then they turn right around and do just the opposite. But, when Christ says “trust Me” you can rest and relax on His word!!
“Trust me” means to stop thinking about all that could or could not happen and begin to rest in His presence and care. Jesus invites us to “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When you lean on His words “trust Me” you’ll find that He handles all the details of your circumstances perfectly. A Richard Smallwood song in fact invites us to “trust Him.”
I will be with you if you will only trust Me; Trust Me, Trust Me.
I’ll never leave you if you will only trust Me! Trust Me, Trust Me.
I’ll fight your battle if you will only trust Me! Trust Me, Trust Me
I AM that I AM I have all power I will deliver if you will only trust Me. Trust Me, Trust Me!
What we need to get a grip on is this truth. . . God will allow adversity to come into our lives, but – we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
Nothing was gentle or kind about Hurricane Katrina. What began as a small tropical storm on August 24, 2005, quickly became a category one hurricane as it passed just north of Key West, Florida. At the time, no one would have thought that in less than four days, this storm would turn into a raging category five hurricane with wind speeds surpassing 170 mph, but this is exactly what it did.
Just as it made landfall, Hurricane Katrina weakened to a category four. But its sustained winds hovered at 145 mph, and Americans witnessed one of the most deadly storms in history plow ashore. Close to 1,300 people died in storm-related deaths, and damage estimates are reported to be more than $200 billion. More than a million people were displaced from their homes. Countless individuals were separated from loved ones.
In 2019 we witnessed a different storm – a pandemic called Covid-19. We have witnessed economic shutdowns, schools closed, churches closed. In the U.S. there has been 20.7M cases and 352K deaths. Worldwide there has been 85.2M cases and 1.85M deaths! At this time, the one question on everyone’s mind seems to be: How could this have happened? When will it end and my life can return to “normal?”
And many times we wonder how and why stormy seasons come in our lives. But. . .He told us that it would happen!
John 16:33 (NKJV) – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
- Winds of Adversity
- The winds of adversity blow strong. They also blow in every direction.
- They do not discriminate between. . .
- rich or poor
- weak or strong
- educated or uneducated
- black and white.
- Though many people try desperately to avoid difficulty and hardship, sooner or later adversity will strike our lives. This is because no one is. . .
- Exempted from sorrow
- Escapes from heartache
- Evades hardship
- Excused from disappointment
When the winter storm does hit, it can cause a multitude of problems:
It can tempt us to doubt God’s goodness and to feel as though the very foundation of our lives will crumble beneath us.
- In the aftermath of a winter storm – whether emotional or physical – we may be tempted to wonder if we will ever be able to put the pieces of our lives back together. After all, how do we recover from the heartfelt loss of. . .
- Many times, people search through the debris of their lives looking for signs of hope and anything still connected to the life they once knew.
Remember: Even if everything we regarded as familiar changes, God remains the same – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8 (GNV).
Remember: He is our eternal anchor in stormy and difficult times – “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary” Hebrews 6:19 (NLT).
Point to Ponder: What type of winter storm are you facing today? Remember: God is in it with you.
- A winter storm is a combination of heavy snow, blowing snow and/or dangerous wind chills. A winter storm is life-threatening.
- Blizzards are dangerous winter storms that are a combination of blowing snow and wind resulting in very low visibilities.
- An ice storm is a storm which results in the accumulation of at least .25” of ice on exposed surfaces. They create hazardous driving and walking conditions. Tree branches and powerlines can easily snap under the weight of the ice.
- Snow squalls are brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant.
- Walls of Anxiety
- As far as you may be concerned, the walls of life have closed in on you, and there is no place to turn.
- Each of us will walk through times of darkness when all we will want to do is find a cave and crawl into it. . .but we cannot do this.
- All of us have wept over the heartaches, struggles, trials, and temptations that we have had to face.
- No matter how painful your situation may be, God has a greater purpose in mind for the heartache that you are suffering. David had been anointed the king of Israel but now he is sitting in a cave
1 Samuel 22 (NKJV) – 1 David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.
- We can imagine David’s tears running down his face. He had never been in a place like this one. Sure, he had been on the battlefield facing fierce soldiers of war, but he had never been here, and certainly never alone. Alone. Have you ever felt the weight of loneliness?
- But notice something, David is not alone! In the scripture we find that everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gather to him!
- Many times we may think that we are alone, or this happened only to us!
- But, look around and you will find more people in the same boat with you!
- Over the weeks, months, and even years that followed, those few moments spent in a cave of disappointment were never forgotten by David. He had learned a simple principle – one that would rule his life and one that we should remember and let rule our lives. What is that principle? In a few words – Trust God!!
- In our winter season, God will give us the test of endurance.
- The test of endurance makes us want to give up. We cry out “Lord, why are You forsaking me? Why don’t You do something in my life? I’m hurting, don’t you know that?”
- You may want to give out, give up, give in – but don’t even consider letting go!
James 1 (NKJV)
- My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
- knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
1 Peter (NKJV)
- In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
- that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
There is something about letting go, giving up that carries an awesome penalty and sense of disappointment. Giving up leads to. . .
- Wrong Attitude
- Having the wrong attitude of adversity can lead to serious problems.
- This can cause us to doubt God when we need to buckle down and trust Him to an even greater degree.
- It also can tempt us to become cynical and bitter, especially when we adopt a “poor me” attitude.
- Giving up leads to. . .
- Messed up attitudes
- Instead of life just looking dark for a season, problems suddenly seem insurmountable.
- We lose sight of the truth that nothing is too difficult for God.
- Missed blessings
- The children of Israel had been given the Promised Land, but wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of negativism.
- An entire generation passed away before Israel had another opportunity to go into the land that God had given them!
- Minimizes God’s use in our lives.
- If you give up now, there is no telling what blessings you will miss!
- God has a purpose and plan for your suffering.
- He used adversity in Job’s life to refine his servant and prepare him for an even greater blessing than he once had.
- When the winter season comes in your life ask God to help you understand His will and purpose for the difficulty. He may not tell you all you want to know. But over time, you will find that He gives you exactly what you need at the right time.
- Will you pass the endurance test? Endurance means
- that I am willing to stay at my post – where God has placed me – until He tells me to move forward.
- It also means that no matter how hard life may become, I will follow wherever He leads.
- I will remain committed to waiting on Him. Waiting for His direction and guidance!
- Do you want the victory in your struggle? Here are five principles that lead to victory:
- Stop focusing on your circumstances and begin focusing on the promises of God.
Romans 4:21 (NKJV) – and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
- Be willing to make a commitment not to give up.
Job 1:20-21 (NKJV) – 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 13:15 (NKJV) – Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
- Claim your position in Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) – And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
- Cling to the anchor of your soul – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 6:19 NLT – This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
- Cry out to God.
Psalm 107:28 (NKJV) – Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.
Psalm 142:1 (NKJV) – I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Praise God for the seasons of preparation that come our way to develop us into the character God would have us to be for HIS glory.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Share with others how relinquishing control paid off in your life.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Let others know how focused Christ remained even unto death for our sakes.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: Giving comes with a cost that is not always easy to pay but must be done for God to get the glory due Him.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: During your season of preparation don’t allow things to distract you from being all God would have you to be.
NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Winter is Coming
SERIES: Don’t Die in the Winter
NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT: Psalm 84:11; Matthew 6:31-34; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Matthew 14:12; Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18:1; Mathew 26:41; Luke 24:13-16; Malachi 3:16; Acts 2:42; I John 1:7; Psalm 105:5; Psalm 20:7; Psalm 63:6; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Jonah 2:7; Psalm 34:1; Psalm 67:3; Psalm 9:11; Psalm 33:2; ; I Peter 2:9; Ephesians 4:27; Psalm 118:24; Malachi 3:10-11; Deuteronomy 28:2, 13; Malachi 1:11; Psalm 37:23-24; Psalm 119:33-34; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; 2 Chronicles 16:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Psalm 27:5-6; Isaiah 59:19; Psalm 121:1-2; Psalm 30:5