Christian Encouragement

Trusting God in Difficult Times

We want to “trust in the Lord with all our heart.” But to be honest, haven’t we all had storms and troubles overwhelm us to the point of feeling our trust slipping away? Trusting God in difficult times can be, well, difficult. There is a path, however, to hold on to our faith and trust in Him.

trusting God in difficult times- the word trust written in beach sand

Here’s what started me thinking about this subject:

I’ve been itching to get into my gardens; impatiently waiting for warmer days. I decided to try to force some forsythia blooms.

I cut out some bare branches and placed them in a bucket of warm water. Then I pruned the ends every couple of hours. At one point, the instructions said to take a hammer and smash the ends. That seemed a bit extreme but they claimed this opens up the stem to drink in more water.

trusting God in difficult times- cut stems without buds in crystal vase on oak coffee table, burgundy couch in blurred background

I changed out the water and continued to prune their ends.  I wasn’t convinced all this manhandling of these branches was going to produce what I had hoped.

Lo and behold, after about a week, I had stunning blooms.

trusting God in difficult times- crystal vase with blooming yellow forsythia branches on oak table

The whole process reminded me of trusting God when we face suffering and difficult times. We can feel as lifeless as those barren forsythia twigs. Our trials cut deep and hammer us down.

When we put our situations into God’s hands though, we can drink deeply from the well of His power, hope, and love. Then He can make beauty blossom through adversity.

Why Does God Put Us Through Hard Times? 

God created the world in a majestic display of His power. Everything was perfection and beauty. His deepest desire was to live in fellowship in His perfect world with the people He so carefully created in His image.

Pollution, sickness, and death did not exist.

Enter sin.

It separated us from God. His perfection became polluted. We now live in a scarred and broken world. Sickness and death affect our physical bodies. Sin brings pain and suffering into our lives in a myriad of ways. It is not as God intended.

What has never changed, though, is God’s love for us and His plan to restore us and His world. He has a plan in place to fix and heal it all. First, through Jesus and His reconciling sacrifice, and next through the gift of the Holy Spirit to comfort, convict, guide, and empower us.

While we live, we will experience the consequences of our fallen world. It will be a painful and frustrating struggle. But God and His great love for us will never change. He sees us, hears our anguished prayers, and promises that when we trust in Him, the difficult times will be manageable.

Holding onto God in Difficult Times 

Matthew recounts the perfect story to illustrate how our faith and trust play out in the storms of life. ( Matthew 14:22-32)

Jesus Walks on Water

After feeding the 5,000, Jesus put the disciples in a boat and sent them to the other side of the lake. Several hours later, they encounter a storm. Jesus saw them (from land; miles away!) straining in the wind and walked out to them on the water. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, it terrified them. They thought He was a ghost.

Jesus calls out to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Impetuous Peter calls out- “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

Jesus invites him to come and Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water towards Jesus. The wind and storm frightened him, however, and he started to sink. “Lord, save me!” he cried.

Immediately Jesus reached out and caught him. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

How to Trust in God

Six important lessons from this story to build your trust:

Expect God to be with you in the storms. He will walk across the lake to be with you, strengthen and guide you safely to shore.

Remember El Roi- the God who Sees. Jesus saw the disciples even when they couldn’t see him. He knows our struggles.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus and concentrated on the storm. His faith wavered. Don’t focus on the waves of circumstances or pain, focus on Jesus and His power to help you.

Do not be afraid. Scripture tells us time after time “do not fear.” When we face storms in our lives that make us fearful, trusting Jesus gives us peace in any storm.

Call out to Him. When we call to him, he immediately reaches out to us. Trust in his love and power to save you even when you don’t understand.

The Bible is full of stories describing the faith of those who experienced troubles. The common denominator: they cried out to God in their difficult times! Never be afraid to be honest with God about your pain and frustration. He never meant for us to keep a stiff upper lip or struggle through on our own.

Cultivate your faith. Faith is a mindset that says, “I’m expecting and prepared for God to act.” Remembering the times He has interceded, protected and saved you in the past helps bolster your faith and trust that He will do it again. He is a trustworthy God!

Trusting God in Difficult Times- Single lightning bolt coming from a dark, stormy sky, hitting a green field

Benefits of Trusting God 

•God wants us to trust Him in all circumstances- pain, loss, stress, grief, and suffering. He tells us Himself what trust in Him brings:

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, who confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV.

Trusting God gives us strength in times of crisis and banishes fear and worry.

•God has a plan; even in the suffering and hard parts. While this promise (in the verse below) was made to the Jews in exile, it expresses the unchanging heart of God and His never-ending love and care.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV.

When we are hurting, the Enemy loves to rob us of our hope by weakening us with lies. Any second that we turn from God and concentrate on our suffering is an opening for doubts to sneak in. He will actively try to get us to give up and give in. That’s when we need to stand firm on His truths and strength.

Trusting God keeps us safe in His promises of loving care, hope and a future. He will not disappoint us.

•God will help you through every difficult and painful battle. He is in control.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14.

Depression over your situation will bring you down; unable to stand.

Fear makes us run away or hide.

Impatience in our suffering has us grasping at straws.

Working things out on our own has us jumping in front of God’s plan.

The answer: Be still!

Trusting God brings peace and patience as we wait on His timing and plan.

Keeping Faith in God During Hard Times 

The best way to build your faith and trust in God is to be prepared for the hard times. Don’t wait until your storm is a full-strength hurricane. Work on growing your faith! Here are some ideas:

Put on the Armor of God

•Paul tells us that to be strong in the Lord and to fight against the devil’s schemes, we need to put on the full armor of God.  The Holy Spirit empowers us in our fight.
(The armor of God would be an entire blog post in itself, but you can read it here- Ephesians 6:10-17.)

Pray for Faith

•Pray for faith! Even prayer may come as a struggle, but our prayers don’t need to be eloquent, just heart felt. Just calling out Jesus’ name is a prayer. Ask Him to help you trust. Tell Him all your emotions.

If prayer is impossible, ask others to pray for you. And remember that when we are at our weakest and cannot pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us “through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 NIV.

Plant the Word of God in Your Heart

•Read, meditate, journal, and memorize His Word. When our focus is on our circumstance or problem, turn it back to Jesus. His Word, His absolute and never-changing truth, shines light into our darkness. As we store up His Word in our hearts, the easier it will be to recall and lean on them.

Praise Him

•Praise Him in your storm; even when you don’t feel like it. We don’t have to thank Him for our storm, but we can still praise Him. Praise is not about how we feel- praise is all about Him. I love to do this through music, because worship music is packed with truth and encouragement that lift me up. There are infinite ways to use praise and worship to lift us up and out of our storms. What works best for you?

Praising His attributes and the ways He has helped us in the past give us a ready supply of peace and hope. I keep a list of God’s affirmations and truths in my daily prayer guide. They help me focus on His character, which never changes. 

Focus on God

•Focus on what you know about Him:

He sees you, hears you, is always close to you.

He is always good, kind, and loving.

Jesus is your calm in the storm and will never leave you.

His peace is a gift- accept it. It is beyond our ability to understand, but when you experience it- you know His promises are true.

Why is it Hard to Trust God?

Knowing all we do, why do we slip back into distrust or go it alone?

Why is it hard to let Him take care of the details and trust in the outcome?

Because we like being in charge, doing things our way. We feel comfortable making our own decisions.

If we leave it up to God, He may say no to the desires of our heart or take us down a path we don’t like.

When we don’t understand the hard parts of our life, we ask “Why.” We want explanations from Him that make sense. Why would He ever want us to experience grief, heartache, anxiety??

The truth is that He doesn’t wish these things on us! They come as lies from the Enemy.

We forget that putting our complete faith and trust in Him is freeing us to live in such a way that His promises are enough.

God Uses Difficult Circumstances 

Even Jesus asked God to remove the cup of suffering from Him, but followed it with “thy will be done.” His suffering was far worse than anything we will ever experience. But Jesus had a firm faith and trust in His Father’s plan.

That’s not to say that our struggles are not painful or debilitating.
But when we can say, “thy will be done,” we look for what He is trying to teach us within the storm.

Is He asking you into a deeper relationship?

Are your circumstances teaching you a dependence on Him that is lacking right now?

Maybe He wants to grow your prayer life, show you an alternative path, convict you of sin, or learn humility.

Agony in the Garden

Don’t confuse sorrow, tears, and deep anguish with a lack of faith and trust. Jesus experienced these same human emotions when He was praying in the garden. Luke tells us an angel from heaven came to strengthen Jesus, and “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” We can work through these tough situations as Jesus did – pray and pray some more…

We spend our lives learning and growing to be more Christ-like. Let Him use your hard times to mold and shape you, and draw Him closer to Himself.

Blessings!

AnnMarie

Related post- Finding Beauty in Brokenness

christian resources for mental health- field of yellow and purple flowers with hazy background

All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Photo Credit: Canva

4 thoughts on “Trusting God in Difficult Times”

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It was such a blessing for me to reread them as our son and daughter in law just lost their home to a fire. I had this post in my queue and had forgotten it was coming up. It appeared the day after the fire! I needed those truths just as much as anyone. They were a blessing and given at the perfect time. Praise God!

  1. Wow, how timely is this blog post for you Ann! And especially the fact that you wrote it before you even knew what was to come!
    I love the analogy (and the photos!) of bringing life back to dead things with your plant. (I may try that)
    Thank you for your dedication and wisdom

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