How to Trust God in hard times
If you’ve ever wondered how to trust God in a crisis, how to trust God in hard times, or even a more basic question: Is God trustworthy? you are not alone. Most Christians struggle with trusting God in the midst of life’s biggest trials but we need look no further than Scripture to find help and hope in hard times.
Help from Scripture
The book of Isaiah contains fifteen chapters of woes and oracles filled with promised destruction, discipline, and grief. The “in that day” promises scattered throughout relate to end times and offer hope and a promise of a better future to people in crisis who wonder how to trust God in hard times.
Is God trustworthy? According to Isaiah, He’s that and so much more.
Take a look at the words of Isaiah in Chapter 25:
“O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them; You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. Strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear You.” Isaiah 25:1-3 NLT
Cities in ruins. Walls in rubble. Palaces gone forever. Do those sound like wonderful things? Not at all, until we realize these aren’t cities, walls, or palaces of God’s people but of their enemies. When God moves in such a decisive way, Isaiah explained, even the wicked people will recognize Him at work and fear Him. Those who know God will respond by declaring His glory.
Think about the situation for a moment. When cities are in ruins, everyone in the city is affected. The municipal services to which its citizens are accustomed are gone and the circumstances are hard—no matter who you are. Even people who know God can look at the destruction around them and be tempted to ask, “Is God trustworthy?”
When our Strongholds Need to be Demolished
“But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat…You silence the roar of foreign nations…the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.” Isaiah 15:4-6 NLT
Isaiah 25:4-6 explains this hard truth. Despite destruction all around them, God takes note of His people and provides a place of defense and safety in the midst of their distress. He provides a refuge and shelter.
As if refuge and protection in a crisis were not enough, God promises more. He will comfort us, give us joy, and bring celebration. He spreads a banquet and gives us His best.
Although the verses in Isaiah 25 relate to end times, they’re equally pertinent to our lives today. Sometimes the destruction that needs to come is not to a world filled with iniquity but to the sin in our own hearts.
- Walls of judgment and criticism
- Palaces of pride and arrogance
- Strongholds of sin
Is God trustworthy when it comes to dealing with the sin in our lives? Yes. When God moves against our sin with consequences, we call those consequences discipline. They aren’t always easy, but they’re worth it. Why? Because sin mars our relationship with God and it must be removed if we want to have the relationship He intended.
How to trust God in hard times and after the discipline of God…
Isaiah understood something we tend to forget about how to trust God in hard times:
We trust God because of Who He is, not because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Consider this truth for a moment:
Relationship waits on the other side of discipline.
God does not offer a casual acquaintance. He wants a deep, meaningful love relationship in which His people revere and glorify Him. When the places of arrogance and idolatry, judgment and criticism, the strongholds of sin are removed from our lives and we follow Him with abandon, we’ll understand the righteousness of God in a deeper way and see Him as He truly is:
- A defense for the helpless and needy
- Refuge from the storm
- Shade from the heat
- Subduer of enemies
- Silencer of accusers
One day, we won’t turn to the world for answers in our times of distress, but we’ll trust God in our hard times. We’ll understand God is our defense and stronghold. He is the One who stands ready to help, not the world.
Does your heart soar with hope when you read these verses from Isaiah? Perhaps you’re like most of us. Despite all the good, beautiful, and excellent in our lives, there are still a few areas in which we feel helpless and in need, things we’re not proud of but can’t seem to remove, places in our lives that feel like a storm’s brewing. Maybe you have a few of those places, too. Perhaps you have more than a few. Life’s like that. If we want all God has for us, though, those sin-filled, helpless places need to be removed by the intervention of God.
How to trust God in hard times: Start with surrender
Are you in a difficult place? Wondering “is God trustworthy?” and how to trust God in hard times?
Begin with surrender. Kneel before God, surrender your concerns, and relinquish your plans in order to wait for His. Surrender is always the agonizing first step in hard waiting, but it’s also the step that brings the most peace. It’s the I’m-not-in-charge-but-God-is place that lifts the burden of responsibility for a problem too big for us to solve from our shoulders and gives it to the only One who can help. Surrender gives our problems to God, and if we’re wise, we leave them there.
Surrender and peace are vital in surviving the woes and oracles of life, but hope makes a long endurance possible. Hope remembers the character of the God we serve. Instead of asking, “Is God trustworthy?” Hope shouts, “Yes! He is!” He is the defense of the weak and needy, even when we are the weak and needy ones. He is our Father when we are fatherless. (Psalm 68:5) He loves us at our worst and forgives us no matter what we’ve done. (1 John 1:9) In the storms of life, God is our refuge and our strength. (Psalm 46:1)
Jesus is the answer
How to trust God in hard times? How to answer the question, “Is God trustworthy in the midst of my crisis?” No matter what we face today, Jesus is the answer. Our Lord is the way through. Friends, let’s surrender our struggles and cling to the One who is our Hope.
Jesus. Only Jesus.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” —Jesus (John 14:6)
Suggested prayer of surrender and trust in hard times:
I praise and thank You God because You do what you say You’ll do. You tear down our places of pride. They will never be rebuilt again, and that’s a good thing. After all Your work of discipline is done, You don’t reject us. Instead, You give us a sweet relationship. I thank you and ask you to remove anything in my life that is displeasing to You. Help me be faithful no matter my circumstances and to see Your hand at work, even in the hard. I thank You for Your mercy, grace, love, and constant watch care. In Jesus name, Amen.
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