How to Trust God in the Hard Times
Have you ever looked at something before you and thought it way too scary to face - that fight or flight kicked in and there was no way you were sticking around? How do we trust God in the hard times, the times where things literally seem like they will drown us?
When I was young, I was swimming out in the ocean with my dad. Waves rolled in one by one and we coasted over them before they crested and broke crashing their way into the shore. We were having fun.
But suddenly, a huge wave rolled towards us, far bigger than the others. We could see it from a distance and my little eyes widened because I knew it would crash right onto us and there would be no time to swim into shore. But I sure was ready to try.
My dad quickly took my hand, looked at me and said, “We have to go under it.”
I shook my head violently, “I can’t. I won’t!” I panicked! I was terrified of being forced underwater and never coming up again.
Still, the wave loomed even taller and even closer.
He took me by the shoulders and said, “We have to go under. If we do, we will make it through just fine. I promise you.”
My heart pounded wildly but I nodded, trusting him, and turned to face the wave, its tallest peak beginning to curl over right above us.
“Take a deep breath and hold onto me. We’re going under together and I won’t let go.”
We dove beneath the surface the moment the wave reached us. I clung to my dad with all my might, feeling my chest explode for air in my panic. The water moved us ever so slightly and just when I thought we wouldn’t make it, we came up for air on the other side.
The wave had crashed just behind us and made its forceful way into shore. We’d survived and without so much as a tumble underwater. Diving under that monster wave, holding our breath and going under, that’s what kept us safe. My dad was right. Going under together saved us from a far worse fate.
When I heard the song Going Under, this is the exact story that came to mind. And it brought to my attention the times that I really thought God had abandoned me. When pain and suffering were so overwhelming, I felt as though I were drowning.
How do we trust a God who lets us sink below the biggest waves in our life? How do we trust God in the difficult times?
Going Under Together
The very first thing we must remember when we feel we are facing some of the biggest waves of our lives is that God is with us. He is that steady hand that we can hold onto and trust that He will bring us through.
In one of my most difficult seasons, I forgot this. I felt alone. I let go of His hand.
And yet I’m grateful every day that He still brought me through. He held on even when I did not.
God will be with us in every storm and every struggle. He may look at you and say exactly what my dad said and exactly what this song reminds us, “You have to go under but we’re going under together.”
The Better Way
We have to trust this and cling to Him because He will keep us safe - no matter how unsafe it may feel. He sees to the other side and knows that this is the better way.
As a young child, I would have tried my hardest to swim into shore at the sight of that big wave. I panicked and wanted nothing but to run. But my dad knew better. He understood so much more than I could at that moment. He knew that the only way to be safe was to go towards the wave and to dive into it.
This is such a perfect picture of how God works in our lives. We may be facing some of the hardest struggles and the biggest heartbreak, but God knows the better way. Even when it seems crazy, just as swimming towards the massive wave felt crazy to me.
We have to trust that His ways are higher and that He is working for our good. And in that, we can cling to Him to bring us through.
A Means of Growing Us
And finally, we can trust that He will grow us through these times. Going under may feel like you are drowning, but really, God is strengthening us, sanctifying us and growing us.
I heard a powerful story from someone that changed my view of suffering entirely. The girl speaking had gone through cancer as a child and was back in the hospital. She saw a little girl who had had bone cancer and was re-learning how to walk. In that hallway, the girl was screaming in pain. Each step caused her immense suffering. She wanted nothing but to stop and lay down.
But her father kneeled a few feet in front of her, with tears streaming down his face, telling her that she needed to keep walking. She needed to continue stepping forward in the pain. He knew that if she didn’t, she would be crippled forever. She would never walk again.
Sometimes we have such pain and brokenness in our lives that we are crippled by it. We cannot even walk in the face of it. But God calls us to step forward in suffering so that we can find true healing.
He knows that even though it is painful to face these things - that if we don't, we will be crippled by them forever.
And we can have full confidence that if we cling to His hand as we do step forward, that He will bring us through to the other side.
Are you facing waves of immense suffering or is God calling you to face some pain from your past or current situation that feels impossible? Cling to Him because as you do, you will come out on the other side free and healed. It won’t be easy, I know this, but it will be good.
Please feel free to share a prayer request in the comments below. Let me know if you are facing this and how I can pray for you.
Thank you for your encouragement! I cried as I read this. I felt so weary. I just got home from the hospital. I had a double mastectomy. I know The Lord is with me during these difficult days. It’s tough getting through life with God. I can’t imagine it without Him. We must be strong. Jesus loves us. I think of the pain and suffering he went through for us. We will all have suffering. It builds strength in our walk with the Lord, encourages us to dig deeper into the Word, and witnesses your love for the Lord to others. Like my husband says-anyone can get through the good times, it’s the tough times that build character. I love Romans 8:28. I pray for all of you, that Jesus heals your wounds, whatever they may be. He Loves you! He created you intricately! You are important, and have a purpose specifically. We need to listen to to Him to see where he is guiding us! Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻
“God will be with us in every storm and every struggle” This is so key! I can’t imagine emotionally surviving storms without knowing God was with me.
Amen! I am with you! 💕
Nicole, your shared memory is such a beautiful story and reminder of where God is when we face difficulty. I’m grateful for how God has a way of calling us forward, even when we feel like we can’t take another step.
Nicole, the wave story is going to stick with me. So good. I’m currently walking through a hard time but reminding myself God is there underwater with me is getting me through too!
What a great picture of God’s protection and guidance. Thank you for reminding us that no matter how big the wave seems, He will keep us in his grip.
The Lord has brought me thru alot of physical , sexual, mental and emotional abuse. Im still alive but the pain inside is excruciating and now im being attacked by demons and they seem to have the same themes. Im done with putting up with people abuseing me. and am going thru not being able to sleep, constant harrasement etc. If it wasnt for the Lord i wouldnt be here. Hes helped me to chose life. But i seriously need prayer for protection, for healing and spirtual wisdom and boldness. Thank you!!
Teresa, I am so sorry. The attacks of the enemy are horrific. Spiritual warfare is very real! You absolutely must read this book. It’s not very big, and is a wealth of information! It will help you immensely! It’s called “When The Enemy Strikes” by Charles Stanley. It’s excellent! Every time the attacks come, replace his lies with the opposite in truth from scriptures. Ask Jesus to stop him from attacking you, to bind him up, and send him back to the pit! 🙏🏻
Your experience of diving under the wave with your father is a very vivid picture of how I need to cling to the Lord and keep walking despite the situation in my life that threatens to unhinge my trust in God. I have been seeking God’s direction in what to do as far as my relationships with my husband. He is not a believer and I feel abandoned by his callous views and lack of respect. I feel a need to be with my family and move to a better area where I can be with my grandchildren. But God has put me here and my health is slowly declining. It is hard to keep on course when the waves are crashing around me. Pray I would find His guidance during this time, especially when the pandemic has isolated me from other of faith.
Hi Kathy, I am praying for you today! I’m encouraged by your desire to cling to Christ. Stay strong <3
What you experience that day is what am experiencing the present moment, that big wave i can see it infront of me and am confused what to do, the wave of diseases trying to knock me down, but thank God for this day where by He is saying to me do not try to ran bcos you might not reach the shore but face the wave nomatter how scaring it might look, just hold your breath my daughter and go underneath the this wave and you will come the other side safe, free and healed, thank you Lord Jesus, I salute You this morning, You are above, You are a miracle working God, Please you you be with me in prayers as i go underneath this wave, having faith that i will come the other side free and healed in Jesus mighty name 🙏🙏🙏