Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series
where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years,
the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them
with you. This morning we seek to understand the spiritual response to adversity.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Spiritual Response to Adversity
““Jesus said, ‘‘. . .In the world, ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the
world.’’" John, Chapter 16, Verse 33
The ant struggled up the hill
with a piece of bread that was
four times the size of him.
Did you ever hear of such a thing?
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we would like to share with you some thoughts on the
spiritual response at adversity. We shall seek to gain new insights into the baffling confrontation with
adversity. As the old spiritual hymn goes: "When we try to live a life of service, when we try to do
our best, or soul wonders why the test." We are often caught off guard when a new round of
adversity overtakes us. We are like fish swimming in the sea, minding our own business when all
of a sudden we are caught in a net, and our normal routine is completely disrupted. Such is the life
of human beings living in this world.
Who or what is causing all of this suffering and what is its purpose? As Job lamented, "Man that is
born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble." We watch with bewilderment as we are
enveloped with painful stimuli to our bodies, minds, and spirits that seem to go on interminably. We
must respond for we have long learned that trying to run away is not the answer--what we are
running to is far worst than what we are running from. It is the same as jumping out of the frying
pain into the fire. And as uncomfortable as we may be in the frying pan of adversity, we know that
jumping into the fire of adversity is far far worse. And neither can anyone pluck us out of the arms
of adversity. It must run its course. We are like butterflies emerging from a cocoon. We must each
struggle on our own. To interfere with the struggle of the butterfly as it emerges from its cocoon
would be disaster. And so it is with us. We must each fight our own battle, and in the process emerge
from the arms of adversity.
Our bodies struggle to adapt and adjust to the painful stimuli being inflicted: we have a strong
negative emotional response to the painful stimuli. It drives us to seek relief. And sometimes we are
able to find that relief. But as we get older, we find that the relief is only partial and we must learn
to accommodate ourselves to our new status. Oftentimes this is a painstaking process but since we
have no choice but to live with the pain, we must adapt and adjust to it, and eventually we do. The
body eventually makes those physical adjustments that are the result of the constant stimuli. The
most difficult adjustment is the emotional adjustment. The emotions being a reaction to how we feel
about what is happening to us doggedly fights, every step of the way, going through all the reactions
ranging from denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. The intellect grasps the
fact of the situation and tries to make whatever adjustments it can make to alleviate the situation.
Sometimes the emotional and intellectual efforts are not helpful, particularly when those efforts are
colored with fear. The fear makes everything worse. The fear of an adjustment is far worse than the
But through all of this, there is another response making its way to the conscious mind and that is
the response of the spirit. The spirit responds with hope. Whenever the supreme level of human
effort is reached and no further effort can be made, one of two things happen. Either despair sets in
or hope rises. If the spiritual response is embraced, then hope lifts the soul up from its bed of
affliction and elevates it to where it can see the spiritual landscape.
This spiritual landscape is a picture of the future, where spiritual values are conserved and
recognized, where the realization that nothing of spiritual value is lost is made. Jesus says to be of
good cheer, that he has overcome the world. Since he has overcome the world, we can allow
ourselves to be "comforted and inspired, enthralled and intrigued," as we grasp the spiritual purpose
of our troubles. And though we must tread the valley of affliction, our souls through hope can reach
heights of heavenly bliss if only we allow it to rise on the currents of faith, where we behold the
vision of our completed growth after we have finally emerged from the cocoon of spiritual
imperfection as the beautiful butterfly of spiritual perfection. Indeed we should be of good cheer
when we contemplate the glorious eternal future that awaits us.
As long as our souls hold onto this hope, despair is kept at bay, though it is always just out of reach,
awaiting the opportunity for faith to fail. But faith never fails. We may become discouraged and fail
to exercise faith. But adversity also stimulates the spiritual response of faith. This faith unvaryingly
supports hope. This faith makes the quality of hope real and gives substance to it. Faith assures the
soul that it will survive all and any contests with adversity. Not only will the soul survive, it will
emerge victorious, stronger than it was prior thereto. Like the material and intellectual aspect of man,
the soul needs exercise also. It needs to flex its spiritual muscle and sharpen its teeth of truth against
the foes of spiritual perfection. The spirit empowers the soul with spiritual and moral power.
The spiritual response to adversity also imparts courage to the soul. This courage is the anti-shrink
factor. It is the quality that girds up the soul to go forward in the battle. It equips the soul to grasp
the faith broadcasts of the Father’’s love and his mercy. This causes the soul to boldly declare its
perfection in the spirit, acknowledge its divine sonship even while the material self may be
crumbling. This courage causes the soul to stand and grapple with what may appear to be
overwhelming odds. This courage dares to assert that "I can do all things through Christ which
strengeneth me." Therefore, "his grace is sufficient." ““For whosoever is born of God overcometh
the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." This courage causes the
soul to pursue meanings of truth wherever they lead. It allows the soul to stand even when all around
it are retreating. This courage is the antidote to cowardice.
Underpinning the spiritual quality of courage is trust. Trust is necessary in order for faith to do its
work of transmuting the potential values of growth into actual values. Growth is oftentimes painful
because we are shoved out of our beds of inertia and complacency into the raging sea of adversity,
where there is a spiritual opportunity to become more than we are. Grappling with adversity often
causes quite a bit of uncertainty and sometimes confusion. Our minds are in turmoil. thus does the
spirit diffuses tranquility into the soul, and this is the spiritual tranquilizer that calms everything
down even in the midst of the storm. This tranquility is the transport of the soul into the very heart
of the spirit where it rests securely. While courage is necessary to confront adversity, trust is
necessary to enter the battle of adversity. Trust allows the soul to ride the bus of truth into the very
heart of despair.
Finally there is the response of the spirit to adversity with increased augmentation of goodness. This
goodness becomes palpable as the soul cries out for help from its maker, the heavenly Father. The
heavenly Father responds with goodness that hails from the very center of his being. The Father
goodness causes the soul to have faith, hope, and trust in the Father. The absolute eternal and infinite
foundation of goodness is the final assurance and absolute insurance against any and all harm to the
soul. The Father is absolutely moral and loves his children with an absolute and eternal affection.
The Father has created this environment of imperfection to assist his children to become perfect even
as he is perfect, but he is also in the very midst of this environment holding his children’’s hands
every step of the way. There is no force, or power, or being who can pry his grip loose. Only the
freewill choice of the soul can do that which the Father had decreed shall be absolute in choosing
This concludes today's message on understanding the spiritual response to adversity. We hope you
find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.