Do not be a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster. Jeremiah 17:17 NIV
The life of a believer is not always rosy. I’m quite sorry if you are new to the faith and that surprises or disappoints you. Sometimes the outside world assumes that because we claim to know God personally that we have somehow risen above the stresses of life. That is far from the truth.
No, the Christian life is filled with strife. At times life is glorious, and at those times we can easily see the hand of our God at work in our lives. Other times, however, life gets to be a bitter battle just to stay afloat. We drift along, sometimes barely holding on to the hand of our Creator.
But we do hold on…and, praise His name, even more than that, He holds on to us. He has never let one of His children go; not one of them has ever been forsaken. We hold on to the promises that His love never fails; that He will never let us be put to shame; that His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.
We trust; we lean; we grab tight as we walk through the valleys, longing and hoping for the day of victory; for another trip to the mountain top; in which we have full confidence will one day come. We can stand tall through the painful toils, because our Redeemer lives and He is our refuge through every storm of life.
Have you been barely holding on lately? Remember, He has a firm grip on you…and His grip is much tighter than yours will ever be! If I can pray for you, please let me know.
For more encouraging thoughts, click HERE or visit my devotional site HERE.
When navigating through some of life’s darkest moments often all that we can hold onto is our faith in God. Our faith is what sustains us, what gets us through challenging times when we, ourselves, cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is in those times that through our faith we trust that God must have a plan, that there must be a greater purpose to our suffering. Without that belief, without that faith, we would have nothing to hold onto, nothing to get us through the dark night of the soul.
Faith and trusting in God means believing in God’s divine timing and believing that God has the interest of our greater good at heart, even when we cannot see it in the moment. There is always a reason. It just may not be a reason that we can comprehend with our current level of understanding.
As we move through any struggle however, there are certain steps we can take to align with our faith to support us in navigating the storm as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
Having faith in God during difficult times can be incredibly hard. Excruciating. Even physically painful.
But I want to testify that trusting God in difficult times is possible for any of us.
I know because my husband and I have had to trust God through hard times on several occasions:
- chronic illness in marriage,
- scary health issues with our kids,
- intense parenting battles,
- miscarriage, and so many more.
In case you think it’s easy for me to share about this topic because our family is no longer walking through those trials, I want you to know that we’re currently battling unemployment.
And we have been unemployed for over 9 months now.
Yes, nine very long months of no income. It hasn’t been easy (and what we learned a long time ago when we paid off 100K in debt is really coming in handy).
But we’re being blessed with many priceless spiritual treasures as we’re learning about trusting God during difficult times.
Unspeakably amazing gifts of God that we would not have received any other way than to walk through this trial.
I want to share with you what we’ve learned about having faith in God through difficult times. Because, truly, God does have a wonderful purpose for these challenging situations.
Table of contents
How to Trust God During Difficult Times
If you’re going through an intense trial, I’m not here to give you simple Christian platitudes or to promise that you can avoid the pain of a trial.
But, oh, how I want to help you to discover supernatural joy, contentment–even peace!–while you’re caught in the storm.
That ability to thrive (and not just survive) a trial is founded on three principles that we’ve discovered as we’ve learned about trusting God through difficult times.
Principle #1: We must take responsibility for what we choose to savor.
To explain this principle, I want to share a simple scene from my life.
Tonight I watched the sunset. I watched the sun dip lower and lower behind a silhouetted mountain crest and then—just like that!—it disappeared.
I can’t remember the last time I did that. And yet, the sun does it every day.
As I sat there savoring the last glimmers of sunlight, I asked myself:
What have I been stopping to savor in place of moments like these?
And the answer was clear: I’ve stopped too many times to savor the wrong things.
Like the fears of the future. Like the utter agony of being broken–again and again–by this trial.
How about you? Are you guilty of this too from time to time?
Let me tell you–if we allow our thoughts to habitually linger on the “what ifs,” we will cripple our ability to trust God during hard times.
I mean, it’s understandable that we struggle with this! Friends, we get lost in the sorrow. We wander in the future without God (a place we were never intended to go) because it’s really difficult to trust God through a trial!
We play those damaging “what if” thoughts over and over. Not because they are good, but, honestly, because sometimes it feels good to feel sorry for ourselves. And maybe we somehow feel that meditating on the “what ifs” brings a bit more control to the chaos.
But the problem is that the longer we hang out here the more familiar the thoughts become.
When we allow these thoughts to dominate we create a stagnant, spiritual “soil” in our minds that make it difficult to really have faith in God during hard times.
What are you choosing to savor today, and how is that affecting your ability to trust God through this trial?
Principle #2: We must quiet our lives so that we can discover (and savor) the quiet undercurrents of joy.
Why don’t we spend more time savoring the good? Well, the pain is easier to discover, especially when we overcrowd our hectic lives with activity.
These tiny treasures aren’t loud and obnoxious, and maybe that’s why we so easily miss them. They speak softly—so softly that its easy to wonder if they’re even there.
They get crowded out in the mad jumble of a hurried life.
That’s why it is in the quiet and stillness that we can see them appear—like rabbits that suddenly materialize on a grassy field at twilight. We see them when we slow down enough to notice their presence.
When I’m enduring a trial I have to regularly quiet my heart: to let out the surge of emotion that’s building; and to allow God to replenish my soul with reminders of the beauty that is happening in my little world.
I write them down (usually in a pretty journal like this one) and savor the lovely little treasures of goodness that are present:
- The way my husband and I always hold hands in bed before going to sleep;
- How my nine-year-old lights up when I ask if she’d like a cup of tea;
- My five-year-old’s adorable furrowed brow when he’s confused about something;
- The way all six of us snuggle in bed as we read a bedtime story;
- The always-happy-to-see-me greeting from my two faithful Labradors;
- My twelve-year-old’s dedicated work ethic (which reminds me of his father);
- The “mystery” card left on my pillow that said, “I love you mom. Thank you for giving up your life to teach me.”
- That moment in the car last weekend when I got to remind my son (who had tears of repentance on his cheeks while we looked up Bible verses together) that yes, he was absolutely forgiven.
I choose to savor these moments, like I’d savor a fine piece of cheese or an exquisitely-flavored chocolate truffle.
These are priceless gifts from God—rich and decadent treasures that are not meant to be gobbled up but to be remembered over and over. These are nourishment and hope during the most difficult times.
What would your list look like? What good things can you savor instead of the bad?
Principle #3: Release your fears to God and choose to savor His replenishing promises.
There’s a well-known Bible verse that many Christians quote during a trial:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
This is a beautiful verse, but I believe many miss the true power of this verse because they stop at verse 7. They pray to God, telling him about their needs and releasing their fears as outlined above (verses 6-7).
But then the fear creeps in. Suddenly God’s peace feels far away because they’ve forgotten to habitually replenish ourselves with God’s promises.
Check out the admonition in the subsequent verses (Philippians 4:8-9):
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
I’ve bolded those sections because I believe they are the final missing piece to how we discover joy in trials.
First, we must acknowledge and release our fears. Then, once we have this clean slate, we must regularly “fix our thoughts” (which sounds a whole lot like “savoring,” don’t you think?) on those things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise.
I’ve found that when I take this seriously–meaning, when I really do regularly choose to savor these gifts and promises from God–it is so much easier for me to discover joy in a trial.
Our family is enduring a huge trial right now and honestly, I have my list of these things in Evernote so that I can access them regularly from my phone and tablet. Whenever I’m tempted to let my thoughts wander into the dark places, I confess my fears again to God and meditate on these truths:
- It’s true that God is working out all these difficulties into a beautiful future for me.
- He’s given me an honorable husband who cherishes me and longs to provide for our family.
- It’s right that we have so many friends and family who are praying for us daily.
- I get to spend my days around little children with pure hearts who see the world innocent and full of promise.
And the list goes on.
What can you choose to “fix your thoughts” on during a trial so that you can maintain a spirit of joy?
God Will Provide As You Trust Him Through the Hard Times
One truth we’ve seen proven over and over as we trust God through hard times: God is faithful. 100 percent.
He has provided and will continue to provide for us (and for you as you trust God in your difficult time).
It may sound cliche, but really, one of God’s best gifts to us through this trial is that we’re learning what it really means to count it all joy.
And a personal relationship with Christ is the only way to have that kind of unshakeable joy through all circumstances (you can read more about that here).
3 Action Steps to Grow Spiritually Through a Difficult Trial
- Learn about the power of prayer in this post.
- Discover how to really understand and apply biblical truths by using this proven Bible study method.
- As you learn about having faith in God through difficult times, keep replacing your fearful thoughts with joyful promises from the Bible.
Awesome Bible Verses for Hard Times
19 Joy Bible Verses for Chronic Illness Sufferers
Did this post encourage you as you’re trusting God through difficult times? Why not share it with someone else who is struggling right now and needs encouragement?
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About Alicia Michelle
Alicia Michelle, author, speaker and online mentor at Your Vibrant Family, is passionate about helping women discover God’s unique, amazing purpose for their lives as mothers, wives and daughters of God. In addition, Alicia is the creator of the 5Rs Bible Study™ Method which is a simple plan for anyone to understand and apply biblical truth in under 10 minutes a day as part of a daily Bible time. Alicia also writes at ChristCenteredHolidays.com where she shares practical strategies for Christian families who want to make Christ the center of their holiday celebrations. Connect with Alicia at [email protected]
Find & Share Quotes with Friends
Quotes tagged as “difficult-times” (showing 1-30 of 132)
“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”
Robert F. Kennedy
“These black times go as they come and we do not know how they come or why they go. But we know that God controls them, as he controls the whole vast cobweb of the mystery of things.”
Elizabeth Goudge The White Witch
“When you meet the real problems of life, think of the real lessons of life for the real lessons of life are in the real problems of life”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“When things don’t seem to be working out; when gloom envelopes you and the world seems to be a dark place; when your mind is constantly searching for some hope; when your very soul seems disturbed do NOT be afraid. Don’t lose hope; this is a temporary phase and it too will pass. Have faith and believe in yourself.”
“The old idea is that when tragedy strikes or when an obstacle blocks us, there are only two possibilities. We either become a smaller person or we become a bigger person. If it’s a real life change you cannot come out the same. So therefore, you’re either going to come out smaller or you are going to rise up and ultimately come out of it a bigger person.”
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The best is yet to come.”
“See your hard times through the spectacles of your experiences. They, too, shall pass away.”
Ogwo David Emenike
“Strive through your adversities with a tenacious mindset and a sincere heart and there shall surely be a great end when you get to the end unrelentingly. You shall surely leave a noble mark when you endure to the end and you shall surely smile in the end and ponder over how the journey to the end was. Note; there is no sweet fruit that is not the product of the dirty soil. No matter what, keep moving on!”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“I can’t control the waves of the ocean, but I can learn how to navigate my ship.”
“Don’t stop breathing just because night has fallen! Don’t stop breathing just because you are sleeping”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“When all things go bad, do not think so badly about all things, instead think about the things that made all things went bad and change something!”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“We cannot run away from our problems. We have to pray for strength to conquer,”
Lailah Gifty Akita
“He would have to get up sometime, he knew that, just as all life consists of having to get up sooner or later and then having to lie down aganin sooner or later after a while. And he was not exactly exhausted and he was not particularly without hope and he did not especially dread getting up. It merely seemed to him that he had accidentally been caught in a situation in which time and environment, not himself, was mesmerised; he was being toyed with by a current of water going nowhere, beneath a day which would wane toward no evening; when it was done with him it would spew him back into the comparatively safe world he had been snatched violently out of and in the meantime it did not much matter just what he did or did not do.”
William Faulkner The Wild Palms
“It is not by strength that one prevails. But by the grace of prayer in the spirit of perseverance.”
Lailah Gifty, Akita
“Whatever you went through in past equipped you for today. What you experience now prepares you for the future.”
Lailah Gifty Akita
“Our inability to imagine the length of the rest of existence magnifies our problems.”