Do you find trusting God difficult when you’re going through a rough time?
On the night that He was betrayed to His death, Jesus said to His closest friends that “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).Following Jesus doesn’t shield us from challenging times, but we can face them with the comfort that Jesus, through His Spirit, is with us, and that no matter what happens, He has already overcome the world.
Part of what Jesus means by that is that the worst thing that could happen to a human being happened to Him, but it did not derail God’s plans and purposes. He was abandoned by his closest friends, betrayed by Judas who had worked with him for three years, called a blasphemer, and then railroaded by an unjust ruling council and a crooked Roman governor. He was innocent, but He died the gruesome and shameful death of a criminal.
All this isn’t embellishment, as it shows exactly what Jesus endured. Death couldn’t defeat Him, and the plans of His enemies didn’t triumph. He rose from the dead in an imperishable body, never to die again.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and enthroned Him above every other authority in the universe is available for those who believe in him (Ephesians 1:19-22; Colossians 2:6-15). He has triumphed over the world and has overcome the worst it can do.
Bible verses about trusting God in difficult times.
Sometimes, the world of the Bible and our world seem like different realities. It can often feel like the reality of the price of gas, cost of groceries, and state of the economy is more real than Jesus. A broken relationship or losing a job feels more immediate, more pressing, and a larger reality than what Jesus did a few thousand years ago.
We forget that what Jesus did was in our real world. But it changes absolutely everything about how we view the world and live in it. If a man really died and rose bodily from death, it means we live in a universe more wondrous and strange than we could ever imagine.
Trusting God happens in daily life, amid dirty diapers, a low bank balance, feeling sick, losing friends, and struggling to find human connection. It happens in the big things and in the small ones, too. It’s not always easy, and it’s especially challenging precisely when we need to trust God most – when we’re going through a tough time. It’s then that we are most tempted to doubt either God’s existence, His power, or His love for us.
The Bible gives us an example of radically trusting God in difficult times. Picture the scene – three young Jewish men are taken violently from their home and sent to a foreign country. They are forced to serve the king of the nation that invaded and destroyed their homeland.
They serve that king faithfully. Then one day the king, whose excesses and power aren’t restrained, decides to build a monument to his gods, his nation, and power that everyone needs to worship. The young men refuse, and it’s brought to the attention of the king, who is named Nebuchadnezzar.
The story picks up from there:
“Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” – Daniel 3:13-18, NIV
What happens next is predictable. The king has them thrown into a furnace to punish their disobedience. However, God rescues them from it, leaving them unsinged by the fire, and not even smelling of smoke. The king is humbled and seemingly repents and honors the Lord.
We can miss a lot of what’s going on in the story by focusing on the miraculous rescue.
Did God deliver them from the fire? In one sense He did, because He sent a messenger to protect them from the flames. However, in another sense, He didn’t, because the king carried out his threat and he threw the young men into the furnace. Jesus was also rescued from the clutches of death, but He actually died.
The key thing from this story is that in the face of an overwhelming and powerful evil, these young men trusted that God was who He said He was, and they trusted Him enough to remain faithful no matter what happened.
Even if God didn’t rescue them at that moment, they were going to trust and obey Him and remain faithful to Him. They took God at His word when He said that His people should not worship other gods, because that false worship would undo them (Deuteronomy 6:13-19; Isaiah 44:6-23; 2 Kings 17:7-23).
Trusting God in and with our lives.
We’re not often faced with such dramatic life-and-death situations. That’s not to say we don’t feel the pressure in our various life circumstances. We’re often faced with situations such as this: when your marriage is on the rocks, do you believe God and continue honoring your vows when an opportunity for infidelity arises?
If your boss is pressuring you to cut corners in a way that will cause harm to your clients, will you yield or will you act with integrity and possibly lose your job because you know you’re working for the Lord and not people (Colossians 3:23-25)?
If you’re chronically ill, will you trust that God still loves you and that He is with you?
Trusting God in our lives is not easy, especially in difficult times. However, the Bible shows again and again how trustworthy God is, and that we can be at peace in Him even in the middle of a storm.
Sometimes, God rescues us from our hardships – He mends our marriage, He heals our bodies and minds, or He changes that tough employer’s heart, and He works in our relationships to bring about reconciliation and flourishing where there was no hope of it. At other times, things don’t work out, and they fall apart.
We don’t always get the job we want, our health doesn’t improve, or the relationship breaks down irretrievably. In those situations, our trust in God is tested, and we’re being asked whether what we believed about God when we were walking in the sunshine is still true in the darkness of the deepest valley.
Finding help and support in your walk with the Lord.
Trusting God isn’t always easy, and we can find ourselves unsure about God and where we find ourselves. Difficult life circumstances are hard to weather, and you need a support system, whether through friends and family, or a professional counselor.
Having supportive people around you can strengthen you as you deal with difficulty. They can remind you of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy when you struggle to see it (Philippians 4:8-9). Everyone needs a friend like Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings; a helper to hold you up in tough times.
If you’re going through a difficult time and are struggling to trust God, consider reaching out to a Christian counselor to help you process what you’re experiencing. Your counselor will walk with you and help you unpack your thoughts and emotions toward God and your situation. A caring counselor can provide perspective and tools to help you cope.
“Sunbeams”, Courtesy of Kareni, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Sitting on the Dock”, Courtesy of Sasint, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “A Flock of Seagulls”, Courtesy of dmytro_R,, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Barbed Wire on Bible”, Courtesy of jclk8888, Pixabay.com, CC0 License
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