Life can be difficult. Some people seem to face life’s hardships with courage and come out stronger on the other side. They are able to climb even what feel like impossible mountains in their life. Others seem to be unable to recover from difficulties, and end up bitter, blaming others or God for their misfortune, or just sinking into depression. The ones who survive and even thrive in spite of challenges are often those who have faith in God, who trust him to help them through tough times. Here are six steps you can take to gain the ability to trust God when life is hard.
Let go of thinking life should always go your way. God answers every prayer, but he does not always answer “yes.” Sometimes, he says “no” or “wait.” Be happy when things go well, enjoy each day and look for the good in it, but let go of feeling entitled to a problem-free life. We have free will to choose to do good or bad, and so does everyone else in the world. So sometimes, bad things happen. Sometimes, we do not get what we want—because what we want would actually not be good for us. Remember that God knows more than you do. Remind yourself that God has your best interests in mind and loves you.
Ask God for help by praying. But remember that God never promised to shield you from difficulties. He only promises to be with you—if you want that. Being angry and blaming God won’t help you to get through the valley. Asking him to be with you can help you endure far more than you’d ever be able to on your own. You may wonder how to pray. Just speak, trusting God will hear you. Pray for his comfort and strength, rather than praying that he’d simply remove difficulties. You will grow in faith and courage if you pray this way.
Read or listen to the stories of others. Their experiences will help you. Author William Sirls writes, “God doesn’t keep us from tests and trials. … He helps us get through them.”Sirls’ book The Reason, or other books about people who experienced God’s help as they faced difficulties, can give you hope.
Be grateful. Make a list of the things you appreciate about your life–even if it is as basic as a roof overhead or food on your table. Tell God you are thankful for them. The simple act of noticing the good things in your life helps you to have a more positive attitude and helps you to see God’s hand in all things—good or bad.
Get beyond yourself. Reach out to others who can help or encourage you. Any difficult situation seems worse if you are facing it alone. Ask others to support you, pray for you—and do the same for them. And offer to help those who are worse off–which will put your problems in their proper perspective.
Adopt an eternal perspective. God promises to make all of us well, if we only believe. But he doesn’t promise that will happen right now, in this life on earth. Some prayers get answered in heaven. We will be able to trust God when we focus on the fact that this life (and its struggles and pain) is temporary, but heaven is eternal.
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