Devotional: When Life Gets Tough

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Life is a roller coaster of situations and emotions, full of highs and lows.

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 as Christians, we can expect to walk through tough times. At times, life snowballs and threatens to overwhelm us. But as followers of Christ, 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, which He had promised He would do?

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

In actuality, God is speaking to you and me all the time. Sometimes through our gut, and sometimes through our conscience. Sometimes through nature. Sometimes through other people. But always through His Word. So we should make it a frequent practice to meet God there.

Here in the U.S. we have a tendency to view hardship as a bad thing. But we need to be open to God using tough times to teach and mature us. If we trust that God works for our good, it’s easier to believe that He is closely walking through our hard times with us.

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

Some 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, I know some of you 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, the demons scatter and our mind clears.

In the Bible, God continually reminds us to NOT worry when life gets tough. He asks us 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.
  • Catch up on our Journey Together posts. Experience God in a deeper way!
  • We invite you to read Josh’s book, More Than a Carpenter. This short apologetics classic examines evidence about Jesus.

Sheri writes and edits for Josh McDowell Ministry.

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