A woman in flip flops standing on steps leading into the water.
Spiritual Growth

7 Essential Steps for Trusting God in Difficult Times

Many of us have a vision for what we want our life to look like. We have a plan. Goals. And dreams.

But then something happens.  

Something we weren’t expecting. Something that doesn’t feel good. Something that makes us look around and wonder, “What am I supposed to do now?” 

  • How do we live a life that looks one way when we expected it to look another?
  • How do we trust God when going through difficult times?
  • How do we have faith when our world falls apart and a sense of dread envelops our hearts? 

This is how I felt when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and faced a future of limitations.  

At first, I groaned and complained. I was angry and depressed.

I mourned the fact that I could not go on a hike with my family. And I became frustrated when a short walk around the block left me breathless and dizzy.   

I felt stuck. Trapped by my unexpected circumstances. Stuck in a place I didn’t want to be.

And struggling to understand how this could be part of God’s plan for me.   

What does God say about tough times?

One day I was reading Psalm 34 and noticed something interesting God says about tough times. 

It says God is close to the brokenhearted.  

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” 

-Psalm 34:18 NLT

Now, in many other verses the Bible calls us to seek the Kingdom of God above all else (Matthew 6:33), to look for God wholeheartedly (Jeremiah 29:13), and to seek His presence continually (1 Chronicles 16:11).   

We are often called to draw close to God. 

And yet here, the roles are reversed.   

Instead of calling us to draw near to the Lord, this verse declares that the Lord draws near to us.   

Maybe God knows we have little strength left to move when we are brokenhearted.   

So, He moves in close to us.  

Wrapping us in His grace like a warm blanket on a cold night. While reminding us that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35-39). And He can work ALL things out for our good (Rom. 8:28).  

Because He can redeem anything (Gen. 15:20).  

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”   

-Psalm 56:3-4 NLT
A woman walking through some grass and trees. And the Bible verse, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." -Psalm 34:18 NLT

Why does God let us go through hard times?

On this side of Heaven, we may never fully know or understand why God allows us to go through hard times.  

But even in our darkest moments, God is working to bring beauty from the ashes. 

Because He knows He can use our hard moments in life to:

  • Grow our faith. 
  • Develop our character.
  • Reveal hidden idols keeping our hearts far from Him.   
  • Give us the strength to shine His light.  
  • And help us bring comfort to others who are facing difficulties, too. (Because sometimes the best thing you can do is to wrap you arms around someone and whisper, “Me, too.”)
Two women with their arms around each other while looking out over a field. And the words, "Sometimes the best thing you can do is to wrap your arm around someone and whisper, 'Me, too.'"

How do you trust God in difficult times?

When life throws me a curveball what I really want to know is not WHY I should trust God. But HOW do I trust God? 

I need something practical to hold onto. Because quite frankly, trusting God in all circumstances is really hard to do. 

In fact, some days it feels downright impossible. But we can learn how to trust God in difficult times by:

  • 1) Remembering who He is & who you are.
  • 2) Praying about it.
  • 3) Fixing your thoughts on Jesus.
  • 4) Remembering all God has done.
  • 5) Sharing our struggles with others.
  • 6) Looking for the beauty.
  • 7) And simply choosing to trust Him.

By implementing these 7 things, it gets easier to trust in Jesus. 

No matter what.  

1) Trust God By . . . Remembering who He is & who you are.

Start by spending time with God. Sit still in His presence. Read and study His Word. Look for truths in Scripture about who He is and who you are.  

And you will soon discover that: 

  • He is a BIG God. Who is in control of absolutely everything! 
  • And He is also your Heavenly Daddy.  

You are a dearly, beloved child of the Most High God.

Every single moment of your life you are held in the arms of the God who passionately loves you.  

Yes, it can be hard to trust our Heavenly Father sometimes.  

But as we spend time each day walking with Jesus. As we let the Holy Spirit work in us to really get to know Him . . . we will find it easier and easier to trust Him. And we will grow closer to Him. (Which is a reallygood thing that can come from our seasons of suffering.)

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” 

-Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
A woman laying down on some pillows while also holding a pillow to her chest. And the words, "Every single moment of your life you are held in the arms of the God who passionately loves you."

2) Trust God By . . . Praying about it.

I know it seems obvious . . . but we often worry about all the things. Rather than praying about all the things.  

God already knows what’s lurking in our hearts. So, we can come boldly before His throne and tell Him all about our doubts, worries, and fears.  

I heard someone share once that God allowed the Israelites to walk around Jericho once a day. So, in the same way we can walk with God around our worries once a day.

But then we need to lay them at His feet. And rest in His unexplainable peace.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

-Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

3) Trust God By . . . Fixing your thoughts on Jesus.

Too often it is easy to become fixated on all that is going wrong in our life. But the more we focus on the negative . . . the more negative we become.  

In Philippians, Paul calls us to fix our thoughts on true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable things. (Phil. 4:8-9)

Paul does this because he knows our thoughts have a direct effect on our attitudes and the way we live our life. 

So, if we are struggling to trust God. We may need to fix our thoughts on the truths found in His Word.  

To review verses about His faithfulness, His many promises, and trusting God in difficult times.

By taking the time to dwell on what is true . . . we realize our lives are in the hands of the Almighty God who dearly loves us.  

And that is a very good place to be.  

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” 

-Philippians 4:8-9 NLT
A lake surrounded by woods and hills at sunrise. And the words, "Our lives are in the hands of the Almight God who dearly loves us."

4) Trust God By . . . Remembering all God has done.

Trusting God with our future is easier when we remember all He has done for us in the past.  

So, take some time to think about all God has done for you. All the times He has been there for you. Provided for you. Been faithful to you.  

And then praise Him for it all. 

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 

-1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

5) Trust God By . . . Sharing your struggles with others.

God never intended for us to do this whole faith thing alone. We were created for community.  

We all have moments when we are strong spiritually. And moments when we are weak.  

In our weak moments, we need other Christians to gather around us. To comfort us. To encourage us. To lift us up. And to intercede for us when the tears choke out our words.  

So, don’t be afraid to tell other trusted Christians about your struggles.  

Give them the blessing of being there for you. And praying for you.  

We really are stronger together.  

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” 

-Galatians 6:2 NLT

6) Trust God By . . . Looking for the beauty.

God can bring beauty from ashes. He can bring resurrections from crucifixions. And He can turn a mess into a message.  

For me, not being able to do a lot physically helped me discover a love for writing and speaking. And I have found many opportunities to use these gifts to encourage others who are suffering.    

I still struggle. A lot.

But knowing God is using it all for good gives my pain a purpose. Which makes it all worth it.  

Trusting God becomes easier when we look for the beauty He can bring out of whatever we are facing.  

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” 

-Romans 8:28 NLT
Woman walking up a set of stairs. And the words, "Trust God. He knows what He is doing."

7) Trust God By . . . Simply choosing to trust Him.

I know that seems a little bit ridiculous, but the truth is trusting God is a choice. 

Just like I sit in a chair because I trust it will hold me up. And my trust in the chair grows as it holds me up time after time . . . as we CHOOSE to trust God, our trust in Him will grow.  

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.”  

-Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
A woman in flip flops standing on steps leading into the water. And the words, "7 Essential Steps for Trusting God in Difficult Times."

Trusting God in Difficult Times

The Bible has a lot to say about trusting God in hard times. But what it comes down to is our choice. 

Will we choose to trust our fickle feelings? Will we choose to trust our limited ability to see what is really happening?  

Or will we choose to trust our Heavenly King? 

No matter what happens in our life we can choose to have faith and believe with every fiber of our being that: 

  • God loves us. (1 John 4:10) 
  • He is for us. (Romans 8:31) 
  • And He is with us. (Deuteronomy 31:8) 

Are you stuck in a place you don’t want to be? Are you finding it hard to understand why God has allowed an unexpected circumstance in your life?   

Sweet friend, I promise that God has a plan (Jer. 29:11). These circumstances may be unexpected to you.   

But God saw them coming.  

And He knows exactly how He is going to bring beauty out of these unexpected difficult times in your life.  

If you found this encouraging, then please share so it can bless someone else! 

And check out these other inspiring reads:

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