Devotional: When Life Gets Tough

Life is a roller coaster of situations and emotions.

We know how to handle the easy and fun times. How does God want us to respond when life gets tough?

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For 50+ years, Josh McDowell Ministry has been leading seekers into a deeper knowledge of God’s truth and power. We offer you our accumulated knowledge and research to help you find truth and encouragement to live a healthy and whole life in Christ.

When Life Gets Tough

Even Christians should expect to walk through tough times that threaten to overwhelm. But as His followers, Jesus wants us to cast our cares upon Him. We’re not supposed to try and do life on our own. We’re certainly not bothering Him when we send up yet one more prayer! Jesus, our Savior and friend, loves to hear from us.

Yes, it can be hard trusting God when we lose a job … when our family is falling apart … when we discover that we have cancer. But in sharing our fears and doubts with the Creator of the Universe, we invite Him to take action. We learn to trust. We learn to live with expectation. We learn to wait patiently. We learn that in rushing to “do something,” we too often make a mess.

The Bible is full of stories of people growing impatient to see God move. Remember what happened when Sarah offered Abraham her handmaid, to ensure that Abraham received his long-awaited heir? How much pain and conflict could have been prevented — even to this day — if Sarah had let God act in His timing, as He promised to do?

“But I don’t hear from God,” you might be saying.

In actuality, God is speaking to us all the time. Sometimes through our gut, and sometimes through our conscience. Sometimes through nature. Sometimes through other people. And through His Word. So we should make it a frequent practice to meet God  in the Scriptures.

When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.  ~ Aiden Wilson Tozer

Wise Ways to Respond to Tough Times

We can pray. Prayer is just an authentic conversation you have with God about everything on your heart and mind. Trust that He is listening. Ask Him to guide you, and to remind you how much He loves you while you wait. His love is so great that He came to redeem your sin!

> We can practice self-control. In Galatians 5 we find a list of the fruit of the Spirit. As we strive to model love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, we’ll find that we have more patience to deal with the tough bits of life. We’ll gain wisdom, and have fewer moments of defaulting to anxiety and fear. And when we do mess up, we’ll have a much quicker rebound to trusting.

> We can keep our Bibles open and near. If we make a practice of reading His Word, God promises that our investment of time will not return void. What we plant through time and study, God will cause to harvest in our heart and mind. Our thinking will change. Our behavior will follow.

> We can speak the Word of God out loud. Yes, it can feel silly declaring Scripture. But it’s one of the to-dos we’re given in the Bible. Why? Because it works! God spoke creation into existence. When we speak Scripture aloud, we’re declaring God’s power.

God continually reminds us to NOT worry when life gets tough. To rely on Him for our needs, if not also our immediate rescue. God moves according to His plan and timing, but we can trust that He cares, and is always working for our good because we love Him.

We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally.  ~ Charles R. Swindoll 


  • Do you want to have a relationship with Jesus? Start here.
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  • We invite you to read Josh’s book, More Than a Carpenter. This short apologetics classic examines evidence about Jesus.


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