When the winds of adversity come upon us, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose our perspective amidst the swirling dust.

David experienced this sense of overwhelmed uncertainty, and he knew where to look for help.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.—Psalm 61:2

When we’re overwhelmed, we think we need answers. But often, what we really need is perspective.

The promises of God’s Word provide the perspective we need. Through His Word, He gives us truths to which we can anchor our lives in the midst of the storm.

I’ve recently been meditating on five truths that give me perspective: 

1. God is always at work.

We don’t always understand God’s schedule, and we certainly don’t have all the answers. But this we can know: even when we don’t understand what we’re going through, God is at work in ways we cannot see. His promises are as real in the dark as they are in the light.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.—Psalm 142:3

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.—Psalm 18:30

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.—Job 23:10

2. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is real.

God promises that He is our very present help in trouble.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.—Psalm 46:1

Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the ongoing comfort and help of God. His presence is real, and His comfort is sustaining.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;—John 14:16

3. The local church bears burdens.

No church is perfect—not even the early churches in the New Testament were perfect. But flaws and all, the local church is a family. God has ordained the local church to help bear burdens and provide encouragement.

If there was ever a time when you need the local church, it is in the midst of adversity. Ask for help and counsel. Be vulnerable with those who love you. Listen to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Receive God’s grace through your church family.

Wherefore comfort one another…—1 Thessalonians 4:18

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.—Galatians 6:2

4. Satan is a defeated foe.

Until Christ returns, there will be spiritual opposition. Satan is real, and sometimes adversity is the result of his direct attacks.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.—Ephesians 6:12

But Christ’s victory is as real as Satan’s attacks. He is the ultimate victor, and His strength is available to us every day.

…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.—Matthew 16:18

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.—Ephesians 6:10

Because Jesus Christ has overcome, we can face every trial of life with confidence in His victory.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.—John 16:33

5. Our best growth often comes through trials.

James 1 provides a clear perspective on how to view difficulties:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.—James 1:2-4

When we face trials, our natural tendency is never to “count it all joy.” We “count it all heartache.” But God knows that without the trials we wouldn’t grow.

A typical concert piano has over 240 strings. When tuned properly, these tightened strings create a pull of forty thousand pounds of pressure on the frame of the piano. Leave the strings relaxed, and you’ll have no music. Introduce tension, and the piano can produce beautiful music.

So it is in our lives. Without trials, we become lackadaisical in our faith and stagnant in our spiritual growth. Yet through the trials, if we turn to the Lord for His grace, we develop the character of Christ. As we grow in Him we become “perfect and entire”—spiritually mature.

Missionary Hudson Taylor once said, “It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies. Be sure that it doesn’t come between you and the Saviour.” Even the painful pressure of trials can push us closer to our Saviour.

We never think we need trials. But God loves us too much to allow us not to grow. John Newton, author of the hymn “Amazing Grace,” put it this way:

Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust in His skill and thank Him for His prescription.—John Newton

Often, it is through the trials of life that we are able to appropriate God’s grace and develop Christlikeness.

Whatever the trial we face, God’s grace is always sufficient and sustaining.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Corinthians 12:9

When we don’t know what to do, God offers us His wisdom.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.—James 1:5

And when our hearts are overwhelmed, His truth provides a perspective we can trust.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.—Psalm 61:2

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