Have you ever felt like life just cut you off at the knees? Things were moving along well, then something changed, and now you’re fighting for your joy and survival.
Maybe it was the loss of a job or a loved one, a major relational conflict, health issues, or even just the continued pressure of life situations.
Moments like this make us feel helpless and hopeless. And the solution isn’t always as simple as choosing to make lemonade out of lemons.
We all know that life is hard. But questions of Why me? and Why now? can often plague your heart and mind. It’s hard to muster up a positive attitude when the bad in life seems to drastically outweigh the good.
And certainly you can look for the silver lining one day at a time. But that doesn’t resolve the devastation and defeat lying within you. And that’s because the goodness you need can’t come from within. It has to come from somewhere else. And that somewhere else is the goodness and hope of Jesus.
As Christians, we know this to be true. But moments of defeat seem to side swipe this truth. They make you question God’s involvement in your daily life. They make you question whether he cares for you.
But it’s important to know that it doesn’t make you any less of a Christian to wrestle with these things. In fact, it’s in the times of wrestling that your faith is often strengthened the most.
Here are three truths about God to remember when life is failing you.
1. He will strengthen you.
One of the most misunderstood verses in the bible comes in Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. Ironically enough, we plaster it on almost everything, from Instagram posts to coffee cups and t-shirts.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Many people use this verse as a good luck mantra before a sports game, a job interview, or an exam. And it’s really unfortunate how misrepresented this verse is, because there really is a comforting declaration Paul is making.
To put this verse in a bit of context, Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison. He’s offering words of encouragement and sharing how God has provided for him on countless occasions. He talks about the fact that he knows what it’s like to live with a lot, and also knows what it’s like to go hungry.
Paul had experienced many good situations and many bad. During each of those times, he was able to make it to the other side because God strengthened him. Paul is talking about God’s provision in every situation he faced–during the times of hunger as well as during the times of abundance.
You might look at that and think that Paul being hungry doesn’t sound much like provision. But God was providing for him even during that time. He was strengthening Paul to endure through that season.
You too can cling to this verse and know God will provide. If you do, you will be able to look back, just as Paul did, and say it was through God’s strength that you were able to get through that season. It’s in our weakest moments that the glory of God’s strength is put on full display.
May the strength of God see you through to the other end of this season you’re in.
2. He has a plan.
When you’re knee deep in the devastation of your life situation, it seems impossible for anything good to come from this.
We understand the sovereignty of God means that nothing catches him by surprise and he allows all things to happen. Yet it’s so hard for us to reconcile what we are going through with the goodness of God and his plan for us.
But even when it doesn’t make sense and we can’t understand it, we can go back to the word of God to bring truth into our thoughts. When we’re in the thick of it it’s hard for us to put things into perspective. Our emotions might be running high and our energy is running low, which is a less than ideal situation for us to have clarity of thought.
But the words of Isaiah are a helpful reminder here.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
We have a very limited view of our situation and all of the factors involved. We couldn’t possibly run through every outcome and possible scenario that could take place from our current situation. That might bring anxiety, as you want to know how it all ends.
One of the greatest stresses we carry in life is in relation to the unknown. But we serve a God who knows all things and who is fully sovereign over your entire life. He has a plan in the difficult circumstance you are facing. It might be hard to see that right now, but hold tight to this truth.
3. He is faithful.
Lord you’ve never failed me and you won’t start now.
This is a line from one of my favorite worship songs. Every time I sing it I have to pause and thank God for his faithfulness. Because it’s true. He has never failed me.
When we’re in the middle of something difficult it’s not that we think God will fail us. But we do question if it will all work out. We serve a mighty God who promises to be with us always. So we can stand firm on the unwavering truth that our God will never fail because he is faithful. He can be nothing else. It is who he is.
He is true to every word he has ever spoken and his commitment to you as his child. This is the truth that the author of Hebrews encourages us in.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
The hope we have in every situation life throws at us is solid on Jesus, because he is faithful. Even when we’re faithless he is faithful. Jesus shows up every time, whether you deserve it or not. He is good and he is for you.
Many people measure the goodness of their situation based on its comfortability level. But the hope of Jesus isn’t measured by comfort. It’s measured by you becoming more like him.
That’s what difficult life situations should do to our heart, mind, and soul. We should become more like him as we come out on the other side. When life seems to fall out from under you, he will be there and he will transform you through it.
He doesn’t promise to pluck you out of the storm but he promises to be in the storm with you. In that storm he will encourage you, love you, extend grace to you, and restore you into the person he’s always created you to be.
By God’s help, you can endure.
When life fails you, God is strengthening you. He has a plan for you. He is faithful. These three truths will never change, regardless of what you are enduring and what stage of life you are in.
His goodness and care for you isn’t dependent upon you. It’s just who he is. The Father promises to be to his children. God is with you when life is falling apart.