Trusting God In Difficult Times
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Money and job worries. Illness. Loss of a loved one. Separation. Divorce. Global crisis. The busted pipe in the basement.
Sometimes, it seems like just when you plug one hole in your life, another pops open. Worse when it feels like the whole dam will collapse on you at any moment.
And the clueless church people aren’t helping. “Bless you, sister,” they say. “You just have to keep trusting God in this difficult time.”
Of course, you nod, smile, and say thanks. Meanwhile, your mind screams, “How? Exactly how do I trust God right now?”
How To Trust God In Difficult Times
Yes, indeed. How?
Trusting God in difficult times isn’t easy. Especially when it feels like your life is imploding and no one understands. And you have no idea how to fix it.
5 Steps For Trusting God In Difficult Times
For now, let’s ignore the well-meaning but seemingly clueless church people. Instead, let’s search God’s word for 11 Bible verses that answer and give useful steps for trusting Him in difficult times. Then we’ll circle back to the church people.
Step 1: Focus On The Right Thing
Not to diminish your problems, but do you remember who God is?
Don’t skim over that question. Because if you’re buckling under the weight of your problems, you may be starting to forget or discount God’s greatness.
Job 38-41 is a great reminder of just how big our God is. Here’s a sampler:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding… Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place?… Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? Job 38:4, 12, 16-18, 33
Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. Job 41:11
That’s the God you serve. What’s more:
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:26
He personally loves you forever, even when you don’t know how to trust Him. On top of that:
God is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, no matter how desperate the trouble. Nahum 1:7 (MSG)
In a nutshell: you serve the God of the universe, who is incomparably bigger than whatever you’re facing — without exception — who loves you, and who wants to be your sanctuary in this storm.
Step 2: Take It To God In Prayer
OK, OK, I hear you. You’ve been praying about it from the start. But God hasn’t said a word or fixed the problem.
Again, not to be harsh or flip. But are you mistaking God for Gandalf? Are you praying about your problems, expecting Him to wave His magic staff, and set everything just the way you want it?
Well, guess who had problems, too? Jesus. In fact, His problems literally killed Him. So He gets it, girl. Jesus knows exactly what you’re battling right now and He reminds you:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
Notice how Jesus doesn’t promise sunny skies and smooth sailing every day. Instead, He promises that He’s already overcome the tough times your battling.
On top of that, when times are tough:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)
To sum up: It’s a given that life is hard sometimes. But when you bring your problems to God in prayer and with praise — and leave them with Him — and allow His peace to settle over you, then you start trusting God in difficult times.
Step 3: Make A Choice
It’s easy to feel like God’s got you when you’re on your knees in your quiet place. Or blanketed in the presence of the Holy Spirit during praise and worship.
But what are you supposed to do when you’re walking through your day and fear attacks you? When your difficult circumstances threaten to overwhelm you. How are you supposed to trust God then?
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)
That’s right. You’re supposed to go back to step 1 and remember that God is bigger than your circumstance. That knowledge isn’t confined to your quiet time or your place of prayer. You’ve gotta choose to carry it through your day. Plus:
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
So you’ll need to make the minute-by-minute conscious choice to believe His promise of strength, help, and victory. Just like David did when he was facing an uncertain fate at the hands of the Philistines.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 (ESV)
In short: Trusting God in difficult times is a conscious decision that you make, repeatedly. Because you’re confident in the goodness, greatness, and reliability of the God you serve.
Step 4: Be Joyful
I know, it sounds like lunacy. After all, you’re barely hanging on by your fingernails. And I’m asking you to be happy about it?
Actually, I’m not asking you anything. God is.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 (MSG)
I hear you asking, “So I’m supposed to be happy and grateful for my difficult times? Again, how?”
The secret is right there in the passage. Hard times show if you’re fair-weather or faithful. So you get to assess your faith level in real time, and build up your faith muscles until they’re fit and toned.
Step 5: Practice Ahead Of Time
Remember back in step 2 when we said that life isn’t always smooth sailing? That’s the God’s honest truth.
And not be be a Debbie Downer, but you don’t have to be shocked when trouble comes knocking. You can be surprised at the type of trouble, and unhappy about it, as you should be. But you don’t have to be shocked when it shows up.
But this is a good thing. Because since you know ahead of time that hard times are certain, you can practice for them. Again, how?
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)
Live in God’s presence. Seek Him for and through everything. That means giving Him control when you think you’ve got everything handled and think you don’t need His help.
Will You Trust God In Difficult Times?
So back to the clueless church people. The same ones who pithily reminded you to trust God in this difficult time.
They may be getting on your nerves. But they’re 100% right. The good thing is, now you know how to do it.
- Remember that He’s bigger than any difficult circumstance.
- Relinquish your worries about your tough times to Him.
- Choose to trust Him every minute of your hard times.
- Flex your faith muscles in the difficult times.
- Practice trusting Him when times are great and you feel in control.
Then you’ll look back when your skies are sunny again and be grateful that you chose to trust God in your difficult times.