How Do You Survive the Worst of Circumstances?

We all know life can get you down. We all know that hard times come to us all and that we can’t get out of this world alive.

How do you survive the worst of circumstances?

Paul knew about the worst of circumstances. Over his life he faced shipwrecks, persecutions, and multiple beatings (2 Corinthians 11:22-29).

Yet Paul seemed to know exactly how to handle the worst things life could bring.

We know Paul practiced thankfulness. We also know he encouraged other believers to do the same. When Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, a short letter with only four chapters and about 100 verses, he told them repeatedly to be thankful. In fact, seven different times in the four chapters he mentioned gratitude and thankfulness (1:3, 12; 2:12; 3:15, 16, 17; 4:2).

What makes this even more significant is the fact that Paul was in prison when he wrote to the Colossians. It must have been amazing to those new followers of Christ in Colossae to hear this man in prison urging them to be thankful.

How did Paul survive prison and other terrible circumstances?

I’m sure you could answer this in a number of ways. For example, he certainly survived prison by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We know he was comforted by Scripture. In his second imprisonment, Paul wrote to Timothy asking him to bring the scrolls with him (2Timothy 4:11-13). We know from this passage and others that Paul had friends who comforted him and ministered to him in prison.

I think it’s very likely that one of the things that Paul did to survive prison was to “count his many blessings.”

Since he encouraged the Colossians to be thankful, you can easily see that Paul practiced this himself. Not long ago I read this powerful assertion: “You can’t be grateful and unhappy at the same time.”

We handle the difficult circumstances of life by practicing thankfulness. Thankfulness lets us cast our focus on the blessings we have instead of the sorrows we face. Something very powerful happens to us when we live out of a heart of gratitude.

I encourage you to take the challenge of living out of a heart of gratefulness.

You will be glad you did.

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2 Comments


  1. Frank Shaw
    Nov 23, 2016

    Very timely. I am going to re-read, and re-read Colosians because this year I think this will take some effort. Nevertheless, it would be to neglect the faith to focus on anything other than God’s goodness to us. Even under bad circumstances.
    Frank Shaw


    • Waylon
      Nov 23, 2016

      Frank, thanks for commenting about this. We continue to pray for all of you, praying that God will minister through His Word and God’s people.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. — Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)