I always believed God blessed good behavior and in many ways, He does, but the truth is you and I are not perfect … our behavior will never be good enough.
So, most of us would probably admit — life is hard!
Add to any personal problems you and I experience, our lives are also complicated by the fact that we live among people whose behavior falls anywhere from mostly good to downright awful.
Yep, life is hard!
You and I live in a fallen world with fallen people.
Adam and Eve failed to follow God’s will and well, ever since that fateful day in the Garden the rest of us have followed their example.
Fallen people living in a fallen world make life challenging.
The truth is, we shouldn’t be surprised by our “life is hard” seasons.
And yet we are.
Rev and I went through a prolonged and painful season a little over a decade ago. I’ll spare you the details because today I want to focus on the ways God used it for good.
As bad as it was, a huge blessing came out of that time … God taught us that we could trust His will because He is faithful and His promises are true.
The following are some of our favorites.
10 Ways to Trust God’s Will When Life is Hard
1. Don’t let the battle surprise you – be prepared.
Jesus told His followers to anticipate problems. Before our painful season, this verse did not give me peace. I was terrified of potential trials and sorrows. But I was only looking at the trials and sorrows part. The promise is … Jesus has overcome! He has won the victory and He is able to give each of us the strength and peace we need to take life one day at a time.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
2. God is listening – pray without ceasing!
Oh wow, we prayed. We asked everyone we knew to pray. We asked God to give us wisdom and understanding and meet our need for His supernatural peace and strength. We asked Him to show us His will and help us follow … and He did. He didn’t answer every prayer the way we’d hoped but He met every need with His best.
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12
3. Strive to surrender to God’s will – obey Him.
You and I can’t surrender and obey God’s will if we don’t know what it is. I am still so far from obeying God the way I want and even further from the way He wants but during that difficult season, I grew to love God’s Word. The Lord is not secretive about His will. He used prophets and apostles to document it and Jesus to live it. The more I study His Word, I learn that His way really is best and I want to obey Him.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12
4. God’s timing is perfect – trust Him.
You and I want quick answers and easy solutions. But many of life’s problems can’t be resolved either quickly or easily.
We have a broken relationship that has lasted far longer than I ever imagined and I continue to have days where I struggle with deep sadness because of it. But I will continue to wait, pray, and believe that God is at work in the hearts and minds of everyone involved.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
5. God can use even the worst circumstances for good – remain hopeful.
I recently read the account of Joseph, who was rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery, and wrongly imprisoned. He stayed focused on God and lived obediently each day. Then when he could have turned the tables on the people who caused his pain; he was able to profess God’s bigger picture as he had already forgiven each offense.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20
6. Keep your eyes on Jesus not on your situation – stay focused.
My thoughts control my mood and attitude. I’m guessing that’s true for you, too. When I ponder my problems on spin cycle, I’m guaranteed a rotten day and pass my rottenness along to everyone with whom I interact. But when I turn up my praise music, repeat verses I’ve memorized, and think about all the ways Jesus has faithfully walked with me in the past … well, let’s just say it’s better for everyone.
Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1a–2
7. Remember God knows the big picture of your life – be still.
I know more now that I’m in my sixties than I did in my fifties or any decade before. I don’t know how the future will look but God does. So, I can be still and rest in Him know He knows my today, tomorrow and forever. That truth gives me the courage to trust and follow wherever He leads.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8
8. You are not on this journey alone – be strong and courageous!
One of the hardest parts of our painful season was feeling like we were alone. When friends are at a loss for words to comfort and encourage and you feel like no one understands, remember Jesus promise…
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
9. Crawl, walk and run … until you soar – Get up and LIVE!
When life is hard, get up and do what you can do today. I’ve learned that thinking about other people may be the very best thing I can do to get my mind off my problems. Some days I’ve crawled through, some I’ve walked or run and by God’s grace, I’ve even enjoyed some soaring days!
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
10. Write it down – count your blessings!
I started writing here at Counting My Blessings during that difficult time because I wanted to hold myself accountable to look for the blessings God was giving even in the midst of the pain. When life is hard it’s difficult to think about anything else. But looking for all that was good helped me survive what wasn’t. So grab a journal or start a blog and write your blessings!
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
I’m not going to try to tell you this is easy. It’s not. But I promise with God’s help, these ten things will help you trust God’s plan even when you don’t understand and life is hard.
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