What do you do when you go through deep waters, the difficult times, the storms of life? Do you get angry? Cry? Scream? Lament with trusted friends? Pray?
I’ve had my share of those storms in life—those times when I couldn’t see dry land, or even the way back to shore. At different times, depending on the circumstance, I’ve coped by doing all those things.
How to effectively cope during the storms of life
I have found, though, that there are two keys to effectively coping with the storms of life:
- Do as Peter did when he was in the storm, and call upon the name of Jesus.
- Stand on the truth and promises of God and declare them over myself and my situation.
Ever since I was a young adult and going through one of the most tumultuous times in my life, I have learned the strength and resolve it brings to claim God’s promises in the midst of our storms.
God has a plan for your life
It was then that I came across my life verse, Jeremiah 29:11 that has encouraged me in every difficult circumstance, even when I couldn’t see any earthly way out:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Another verse that I clung to was Isaiah 43:2. It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. And, when you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up. The flames will not consume you.”
Have you ever been through a flood?
I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a fire or a flood. Some years into our marriage, we bought a house. Soon thereafter, we painted the whole thing and we put down new carpet and bought new furniture.
Then, we went away on vacation. We came back a week later, about midnight. We had two little boys at that time.
We got in about midnight. We opened the garage door and walked into the house into six inches of water throughout the entire house. We didn’t know if it, but right before we left on vacation, one of the kids flushed the toilet and it didn’t stop.
I didn’t know that a toilet could not stop. It didn’t stop for a week. It ran and it ran. And it ran and it ran… And it ran out the front door. And it ran out the back door. And it ran out the garage. The neighbors couldn’t see it because the front door was hidden from the street. It just ran all week.
It ruined every wall, every cabinet, every door, all the furniture. You know, we had a flood like none other. I think it almost emptied all of Lake Granbury. That might be why there was a drought in Lake Granbury soon thereafter.
I was so naive. I thought, “Oh, give it six weeks, it’ll be fine. Our house will be back to normal.” A year later, the house was still not back to normal. We had to tear up all the carpet, pull out all the cabinets, and tear rip out all the walls. We could stand at one end of the house and look all the way through to the other end of the house—through where the walls used to be.
I will never forget thinking, “Oh my gosh. This is what a flood is like – it totally destroys.” Then, God showed me that verse. It says, “When you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown…”
I thought, “Wow. That was rough. But, He promises to be there. He promises to take us by the hand.”
There have been difficult times in my life, like when my husband was going through cancer and my mom was going through cancer at the same time. When my husband went through cancer before, he had to go through a surgery that lasted almost twenty-four hours.
Trust God, not your feelings
I just remember clinging to God thinking, “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I trust You. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I trust You. I don’t have anything else to trust. I don’t have anything else to hold on to. But, You have been faithful before and You will be faithful again because the world doesn’t have anything else I can hold on to.”
That’s what He’s talking about: “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you…”
You know, people will let you down but God will not. And, when you’re going through depression, what’s so important is that you trust God and not your feelings. Because your feelings will let you down. Your feelings will lie to you. People will lie to you. People will let you down. But, God won’t.
When you go through deep waters, keep your eyes on Jesus
Depression has a way, though, of making us focus on our feelings rather than on truth. Feelings are capricious and they can’t be trusted. They’re strong and they’re compelling. But, the enemy uses our feelings against us. The enemy is the master deceiver and he makes his career out of lying. And when we listen to him, or to our feelings, we focus internally rather than focusing upward where we need to keep our eyes set.
Focus on God’s truth. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
What strategies will you use to cope with the difficult times of life?
For related posts to help you cope during the storms of life:
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the 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.
“If you or a loved one are walking through the valley of depression, be encouraged that you are not alone. Dr. Michelle Bengtson has provided a powerful resource to help you on your journey toward hope. It is a personal and positive book, as you learn from Dr. Bengtson’s own story as well as her practical knowledge in the field. I love how she shares a prescription, a prayer and a playlist at the end of each chapter to give you an extra boost of strength. Hope Prevails is a must read for every person who struggles with depression.” ~ Karol Ladd, Author of Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive