It’s inevitable. Tough times will come along during our lives. A pastor friend once told me something along these lines: “You’re either coming out of a time of struggle, in the midst of a difficult time, or heading toward a challenging time.” The Christian life (or any life) is not always a bed of roses—and the Bible doesn’t promise us a life free from trouble. This week, let’s take a Scriptural look at trusting God through difficult circumstances.
Expect Difficult Times
“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
In this world, we can expect trouble. John 16:33 spells out this statement for us in black and white. Jesus was speaking directly to His disciples, and He didn’t say you may have trouble. He said, “you will have trouble.” That sounds a little depressing, right? Thankfully in the same verse, Jesus also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world.
It’s important to set realistic expectations. Following Christ doesn’t exempt us from struggles or difficult circumstances. If our expectation is a life with no hard times, we will be disappointed and possibly even angry at God when the wheels fall off. Sometimes, the struggles we face can build our faith and character, creating a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father.
How do we maintain our trust in God when our lives are seemingly falling apart?
I’m reading a book right now entitled Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. Bridges paints a beautiful picture of God’s providence over all His creation. In the book, he teaches that God only brings or allows things to happen in our lives that are for His glory and our good.
It’s a tough statement because sometimes we can’t see any good in a particular circumstance from our perspective. That’s when it becomes important to remember that only God sees the entire picture. Can we learn to trust God even when we don’t understand what He is doing?
God gives us some encouragement in His Word as we learn to trust in difficult times. We learn that He will keep us safe in days of trouble:
“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5, NIV
And it helps to keep our eyes on what is being achieved eternally (what is unseen, not what is seen):
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV
Most of all, we already know the end of story. Jesus has overcome the world. Though we may experience difficult times, and even walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus has overcome evil and is waiting for us in eternity. What hope and peace that knowledge brings!
Learning to trust more fully,