Whenever I write about the difficulties of life, I receive a relatively large number of comments. I understand why.
We all face difficulties in life. You probably know the oft quoted saying about troubles. “You are either in the midst of trouble, you are coming out of a period of trouble, or you about to go into a time of trouble.” We all know what it means to face difficulty and trouble. Trouble, pain, anxiety, and fear are the common denominators we all experience as human beings. This is why the Bible gives us so many examples of people who knew sorrow.
So, what can we do to help other people and help ourselves?
First, we can remember what we have done in the past. The past is wonderful to give us confidence for the future. While we can’t live in the past, it can help us with the present and the future. We can use the past to help us remember that “God has never failed me yet.”
Second, we can emphasize how God has blessed us.
Here’s a little exercise. Instead of focusing on your troubles, focus on your blessings. Literally, “count your many blessings.” Psychologists use this technique to get our minds to a better place. By counting or remembering your blessings, we redirect our minds to the positive from the negative.
Take a inventory of your life. Notice what God did in the past and emphasize what He will do in the future. One of our hymns says, “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.” Our hope comes from the God who never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I love the practical significance of this truth. If God loved me in the past (He did), He will also love me in the future. If God cared and blessed me in the past (He did), He will do so in this present time.
We can count on God.
Third, seek people of faith, love, and truth. These are the people who can help you. I hope that you will make yourself available to encourage people who are going through difficulty. It is more blessed (in so many ways) to give than to receive. Give your time, energy, and encouragement.
Fourth, pray Scripture. Find those great passages of hope and encouragement and make them your life. Scripture gives life; let it do so for you. Here are three quick passages I would encourage you to hold on to fervently as you pray: Philippians 4:4-6, 1 Peter 1:8, Isaiah 26:3-4 KJV.
Finally, Trust God. Tell Him that you trust Him. Even in fear, exalt God and put your trust in Him. You might say it in this way, “While I can’t trust myself, I trust in You. While I can’t see any way out, I know that You not only have a way but that You are the way.”
Remember, you are not alone. Peter told the community of faith to “Above all hold unfailing . . . love for one another” (1 Peter 4:8).