Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

How To Deal With Adversity
Job 2:9-11 NAS

9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" 10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him. (NAS)

All of us face adversity. Most of us have either recently come through an adverse experience we are in one right now or we are about to experience adversity.How do you deal with adversity?

Out in the American West, a cowboy was driving down a dirt road, his dog riding in the back of the pickup truck, his faithful horse in the trailer behind. He failed to negotiate a curve and had a terrible accident.

Some time later, a highway patrol officer came on the scene. An animal lover, he saw the horse first. Realizing the serious nature of its injuries, he drew his service revolver and put the animal out of its misery. He walked around the accident and found the dog, also hurt critically. He couldn't bear to hear it whine in pain, so he ended the dog's suffering as well.

Finally he located the cowboy ­ who had suffered multiple injuries off in the weeds. "Are you okay?" the cop asked. The cowboy took one look at the smoking revolver in the trooper's hand and quickly replied, "Never felt better!"

That man deal with adversity through denial. Or some would say making a wise decision. I want to have two major points today and they are the Sources and Resources of adversity.

1.    How to Deal with Adversity;   Consider the Sources of Adversity. v 10

"Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

A.    God May Be The Source of Your Adversity.
        1.    God May Directly Cause the Adversity. John 9:3
3 Jesus answered, "{It was} neither {that} this man sinned, nor his parents; but {it was} in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. (NAS)

        2.    God May Indirectly Cause the Adversity. 2 Cor 12:7
7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-- to keep me from exalting myself! (NAS)

B.    Our sin May Be The Source of Your Adversity.

Charles Stanley says ". . . 60 to 70 percent of the people I counsel are suffering from the consequences of their own sin or the sin of another." p 19, How to Deal with Adversity.

        1.    Sins of Transgression. I Jn 3:4
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. (NAS)

        2.    Sins of Omission. James 4:17
17 Therefore, to one who knows {the} right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. (NAS)

On Friday, this past week, I was sitting at a table with several pastors and some evangelists.    We were talking about the conference we had been to and then talking about general things of ministry.

A man came and sat down at a table near us and he noticed our conversation and knew that we were taking about things of the ministry.  I thought this man was rather curious because he kept looking at us and he chose to sit near us when there were several other places to sit where he would not be crowded up by us.   As I continued to look at him, I felt an impression perhaps this man needs one to witness to him.   I looked around at the other evangelists and the pastors and thought well somebody's going to do this.

It seemed that no one else noticed him, so I got up from my table and went over to the next table and introduced myself to this man.  His name is Larry Scott.  He has the responsibility of keeping the runways clear at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.  I began to share with him and took out a tract and asked him the question "Have you reached a place in your life that you know for certain if you die you're going to go to heaven?"  From that point I just proceeded to go through the entire tract with him.  We got to the end I asked, "Does this make sense to you?"  He said, "Yes, it did."  I asked, "Is there any good reason why you would not receive God's gift of eternal life?"  He said, "No, there is not." And I said, "Are you willing to do it right now?"  He looked at me and said, "I'd be lying if I said yes."

I backed up and approached him from another angle.  Then once again asked, "Would you like to make that decision right now."  Larry said no.  We talked on for a little while just in generalities and I got up and went back over to the other ministers.  But as I left Larry said, "Thanks for sharing with me."

Friend, I could have heard the prompting of God and refused to do good and it would have been a sin to me. I obeyed, in this case, the prompting of our Lord and even the man I witnessed to thanked me for doing it.

A guy named Joe finds himself in dire trouble. His business has gone bust and he's in serious financial trouble. He's so desperate that he decides to ask God for help.

He begins to pray... "God, please help me. I've lost my business and if I don't get some money, I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lotto." Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it. Joe again prays...

"God, please let me win the lotto! I've lost my business, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well". Lotto night comes and Joe still has no luck.

Once again, he prays... "Dear Lord, why have you forsaken me?? I've lost my business, my house, and my car. My wife and children are starving. I don't often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order." Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Joe is confronted by the voice of God Himself:

"Joe, meet Me halfway on this. Buy a ticket!"

Do not mis-understand I am not wanting or encouraging any one to play the Lottery.

Do you see the point? Our failure to do what we know to do could result in sin and failure.

C.    Satan May Be The Source of Your Adversity. 1 Pet 5:8
8 Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (NAS)

1Thes 2:18 (NAS)
18 For we wanted to come to you-- I, Paul, more than once-- and {yet} Satan thwarted us.


What are the sources of Adversity?

God May Be The Source of Your Adversity.

Our sin May Be The Source of Your Adversity.

Satan May Be The Source of Your Adversity.

2.    How to Deal with Adversity;  Consider the Resources.

Ps 23:4
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. (NAS)

A.    The Presence of God. ". . . for Thou art with me;. . . "

We don't have to face adversity alone.     Regardless of the source.

Illustration Dan 3:14-18
14 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 "Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe, and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, {very well.} But if you will not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.   17 "If it be {so,} our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 "But {even} if {He does} not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (NAS)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, were given a test.

1. Bend, 2. Bow, 3. Burn

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, said There is a forth choice.

4.    Trust God

        1.    The Protection of God. ". . . Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. "
                a.    Protection Through Faith.
                b.    Protection Through Scripture.

An earnest young man went to his pastor one day with a spiritual problem. "Please pray for me," he said. "Ask the Lord to give me more patience." They knelt together to pray, and the pastor began praying, "Lord, send this young man tribulation in the morning. Send this young man tribulation in the afternoon"

The young man interrupted, "No! no! Don't pray for tribulation! What I need is more patience!" "Ah, my young friend," explained the pastor, "but 'tribulation worketh patience' (Rom. 5.3 b KJV)!"

        2.    The Provision of God. ". . . and Thy staff, they comfort me."
                a.    Provisions Through Prayer.

At the end of her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom tells of her own struggle with loving and forgiving:

It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there - the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said. "To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!" His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.

I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself. (pp. 220-221)

            3.   The Praise of God. Job 13:15 (NAS)
15 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.

Psa. 22:3
3 Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of

Illustration I have use this many times but this time I copied it from Bob Aubucheon's sermon on Praise found on the web.

Anna Spafford stood with her four daughters on the deck of the sinking French liner S.S. Vill du Havre, November 22, 1873. Two hundred and twenty-six lives were lost - 87 survived.

Annie, the oldest, helped her mother support Tanetta, the youngest, who had her arms wrapped around her mother's neck. Bessie, the second youngest, clutched her mother's knees. Maggie, the second oldest, calmly stood beside her mother and said, "God will take care of us." Annie added, "Don't be afraid. The sea is His and He made it." Then the water engulfed them.

Anna Spafford's last memory was of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. A plank floated beneath Anna's unconscious body and propelled her up. But, her daughters were gone. Her first reaction was complete despair. Then she felt a voice speak to her, "You were spared for a purpose." And immediately she thought of the advice a friend had given her many times, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God."

Nine days later she reached Cardiff, Wales, and cabled back to her lawyer husband in Chicago these two words: "Saved alone." He immediately boarded a ship to join her in Europe. One night the captain called him to his private cabin. "A careful reckoning has been made," he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the du Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep."

Horatio Spafford went back to his cabin, and on those high seas that night, near the place where his children perished, wrote the hymn that begins: "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrow like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'"


We need to realize the resources in times of adversity.

The Presence of God. ". . . for Thou art with me;. . . "

The Protection of God. ". . . Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. "

The Provision of God. ". . . and Thy staff, they comfort me."

The Praise of God.