Trials. Stresses. Difficult Times.
We’ve all been there, right?
Jesus told us in this life we would face trials. He told us to just expect it. But thankfully, He didn’t just give us a handful of bad news and walk away. He also offered the encouragement that even though the trials would come, we could maintain our peace and calm assurance because He has already overcome anything we would face in this lifetime.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).
And yet, knowing we will face trials and knowing what to do about them are two very different things.
As I sat in my overstuffed, and ever so slightly too-big-for-me chair where I like to pray and study God’s Word, my heart was weighed down.
In a very short span of time, several friends and family had shared significant concerns with me: A husband grieved the death of his lifetime partner. A daughter and her siblings cared for their mother who was slipping deeper into the confusion from dementia. A father ached for his children who felt they didn’t fit in and weren’t accepted at school or anywhere for that matter. A mother yearned for time with her incarcerated son that wasn’t punctuated by a plexiglass division. A wife longed for the mundane life she experienced prior to taking on caregiving responsibilities for her husband who had been diagnosed with cancer. A brother agonized over the premature loss of his brother to senseless gunfire.
As I sat in silence, unsure of where to begin or what to pray, I recalled the comforting words of Jesus to His disciples: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).
That described my current condition: my heart was troubled. Those I loved were facing trials no one could ever prepare for, and yet had to handle. I desperately wanted to help, but nothing I could offer would dissipate their pain. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew who did.
Scripture tells us to pray, tell God what we need, and to ask for wisdom.
“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 NLT).
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
I’m so grateful the Lord doesn’t expect us to have all the answers or to go it alone. There is no reward for independence, rather in God’s economy, He prefers we surrender and depend on Him.
Lord, show me. Tell me what to do.
As always, He showed Himself faithful to His word.
1. Pray Fervently
Jesus perfectly modeled how to handle our most painful circumstances: “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
When Jesus hurt, when His circumstances were dire, He didn’t give up and He didn’t give in. He pressed in and prayed even more fervently, while He waited for His Father to answer the cries of His heart.
2. Speak God’s Promises Over the Situation
Whenever a friend experiences adversity, we must speak God’s promises and not keep confessing the problem. I often remind myself that God not only owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but He also owns all the hills! He is a good God, His plans for us are good, and He longs to be our provider. His promises give us countless reasons to have hope. “I would be in despair if I did not believe I would see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living” (Psalm 27:13).
3. Declare Your Trust in Him
Even when we are confused, don’t understand, or are just up against a wall, none of it takes Him by surprise and He has a plan that is better than anything we could devise ourselves. Will you trust Him? Declare out loud your trust in Him then tell your situation how big your God is. “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
4. Let God be Your Comfort
When your life feels like it’s in pieces, remember that He who created your life also holds it together. Are you going through a difficult time? Do you ever feel like others don’t understand? Do you feel alone in your struggle? Don’t despair. Don’t give up. Let me encourage you to turn to the Lord. Turn to Him. He longs to comfort you and be the one to walk with you during this time. “I will be with him in trouble” (Psalm 91:15).
5. Seek Him With Everything You Have
No one else promises to always be ready with a listening ear or offers that when you spend time with them you won’t be disappointed. When you seek Him with everything you have, He makes you His priority. “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message).
6. Remember That Every Difficulty Is An Opportunity
It’s so hard when we face trials and are eager for the pain to end. But every area of difficulty we face is an opportunity for God to show how great He is. When situations look bleak in our own efforts, it’s a canvas waiting for God’s glory to shine through. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Can I pray for you?
Father God, you know my heart hurts for my friends and family who hurt. I know it hurts your heart as well. But we also have the assurance that your plans for us are not only good, but they are to prosper us and not to harm us. Only you have the capability of working every dire situation into something good and beneficial for us and for your glory. Father, I commit to you the needs and the hurts of the one reading this now. Let it be an opportunity for them to pray more fervently, practice speaking your promises over their situation, declare their trust in you, let you be their source of comfort, seek you with everything they have in order to find you, and to watch you turn a difficulty into an opportunity for you to show up big. I thank you, Lord, that your love for us is everlasting and that your mercies are new every morning. I entrust them into your sovereign care. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Hope Prevails Book and Hope Prevails Bible Study offer hope for overcoming depression.
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Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the new companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand: how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
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