When Life is Hard and You Need a Life Preserver

Sometimes life is just plain hard.

Sorry to begin with some “Debbie Downer” sentiment, but it is true. And whether or not you can relate at this point in your life, it is true nonetheless. The old analogy of life being compared to mountaintops and valleys has stayed around for a reason. Sometimes you are on the top of the world, and sometimes you are in a deep, dark valley with no view of the sun.

If you cannot relate, it’s only a matter of time. Wow, that sounds dreary. Sorry! But it’s true. Jesus even warned us in John 16:33.  “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

God’s word is true, always, but what can get us down are our unreliable, roller coaster feelings and emotions. We know God is good. We know He is with us. But sometimes, we just don’t feel it.

You don’t have to look far to find trouble and suffering. If it is not in your immediate family, I’ll bet it is in the lives of many of your friends. In my church, in the last two weeks alone, I have learned of many cases of cancer diagnoses, Alzheimer’s, scary surgeries, and families in trouble. My own family has also come face to face with a troubling medical situation. Jesus was not kidding when He said we’d have trouble.

​When we’re in the valley moments in life, what can we do? What can we do when we doubt God’s word or when we feel forsaken? Because, let’s be honest, sometimes the dark threatens the light.

​We have a choice. We can keep our eyes down, focused on the size of our own problems, or we can focus on the size and might of our God. It is a choice. Just like I talked about in my last blog, we can cling to thoughts of worry and fear, or we can cling to the goodness of God.

Feelings are not truth. Even when we don’t feel strong, we have the truth in God’s word to cling to. We have a confident hope.

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”
​Romans 12:12 (NLT)

Isn’t the Bible full of great advice? Paul gives us a great guide to help us when we are in those valley moments in life.

1. Rejoice in our confident hope. I absolutely love this sentence! It is something to stick to like velcro! If you’re like me thought, you’d like a bit of clarification as to what you can be hopeful in. Here is some help with that for both you and me.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13. This is an awesome reminder that we have power and confidence because the Holy Spirit lives in us. That is hope!

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called–his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” -Ephesians 1:18. We are called by God, so He gives us his light. Our hope of the future includes sharing in the riches and glories of Jesus!2. Be patient in trouble. It is always good to remind yourself that God does not operate on your timetable. God is in supreme control of everything in the universe. But remember what Jesus said in John 16? “Take heart! For I have overcome the world!” Trust in Jesus. He won the victory, and we will win in the end! It’s hard to be patient, I know, but fill your mind with truth. It’s the only way to stay grounded.

3. Keep on praying. This is one main thing I have been learning and relearning this year. (Why does it take so long for us to get it?) We have to pray. Prayer is our lifeline to our Savior. It is more than just presenting our requests to God, which He wants us to do, He invites us to do. When we pray, our will is aligned with the good, perfect, and pleasing will of God. We are changed for the better when we spend time talking with Him.

In times of struggle and suffering, prayer is a necessity just like a life preserver is in the midst of a vast ocean. God will keep us afloat, but we must cling to Him through prayer.

I’m preaching to myself with this blog, friends. I hope it speaks to you too. It’s a great reminder for us all, whether we are “Positive Pattys” or “Debbie Downers.”

“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

Kristen Johnson

Kristen is an "accidental farmer's wife" and stay-at-home mom of 3. Accidental, because it was never in her plan to "just" be a mom. But it was God's. Former English teacher now turned MOPS Coordinator and Speaker, Kristen now writes at nap-time, blogging about her silly kids and her farming adventures, as a mom Called by God. She lives in Minnesota on a farm with her family, dog and 5 cats.
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