3 Truths to Cling to When You’re Hit With Challenges
Written By Cassandra Yeo, Singapore
Whenever we’re hit with challenges in life, we often expect our situation to improve and get better. I know that I often carry this hope into my prayers to God. I expect Him to intervene and provide breakthroughs during the vulnerable moments of my life.
However, when prayers are delayed or seemingly unanswered, I am forced to grapple with uncertainty. Understandably, in such situations my friends who support me in my journey do not know what to say to comfort me. In the face of my own doubt, and the uncomfortable silence from others, I begin to doubt God’s goodness.
However, in spite of my growing disbelief, God shows up in unexpected ways, and He uses difficulties to teach me about His constant character in the midst of changing circumstances.
1. Remember that God is still in control
When I grapple with loss or anger, I am reminded of characters in the Bible who also went through crises. Ruth, Joseph and Paul, for example, were people who had lost much. Yet, their responses were vastly different from how I would expect someone to react in a crisis.
When Ruth was a childless widow, she chose to follow her mother-in-law to live in a foreign land, and to follow God (Ruth 1:16). Joseph decided to show hospitality to his brothers despite their earlier ill treatment of him, as he knew the Lord was doing good in the injustice he faced (Genesis 50:19-20). Paul continued his ministry despite facing persecution, knowing that his work would result in many others coming to Christ.
In each of these situations, God worked through the difficult situations to ultimately bring good: Ruth became great-grandmother to the first king of Israel; Joseph preserved the lives of the twelve tribes, and Paul spread the gospel throughout the known world.
Whenever calamity strikes, these examples from the Bible remind me that God is still in control, and He is still good. I need to be thankful for His work in my life, even if I can’t always see the outcome. In times of difficulty, I often go to trusted friends and groups to confide in my struggle to remain thankful, and rely on them to remind me of God’s goodness.
2. Remember that we can trust God in the midst of uncertainty
I had planned to find a stable full-time job before I graduated from university, and had begun actively searching long before my peers did. However, what I thought would be a one-month hunt became an eight-month affair. With every passing interview, I prayed that God would open the door to an opportunity, only to realize that every door was shut.
While it was immensely difficult, I saw God’s hand in the midst of my circumstances. I found a contract job quite quickly, which allowed me to earn some money and hone my professional skills while still looking for a full-time job. In the process of seeking, praying and waiting, the job search taught me perseverance, humility and joy in the midst of fruitlessness, allowing me to grow in my relationship with God. Slowly, I began to trust the Giver, rather than long only for the Gift itself.
After a long search, God finally provided an open door—one that I wasn’t seeking or expecting, but one that was in line with what I was looking for. I’m about to begin my career journey there in December. This experience has trained me to trust God to provide in the midst of uncertainty. It was no longer a job search that was based on my own terms, but rather, what God had in mind for me, and it was beyond what I had in mind for myself.
3. Remember that our worth is found in Christ alone
In university, I served God actively in fellowship and church. However, throughout my journey, I was met with many roadblocks. I faced the untimely death of a friend and my grandma, lost treasured friendships, and my grades dipped even though I worked doubly hard to keep them up. The fight to keep my hope and self-worth afloat seemed like an endless struggle, even as I saw my friends and peers sail through their university life without much difficulty, and easily obtained the academic success I yearned to have.When the pillars of my security—grades and friendships—were taken away, I had to examine whether I was basing my worth on how much I have, or in how God Himself sees me.
Despite the odds, God provided a breakthrough in my grades in my final semester. On my graduation day, as I looked back on the journey, I knew that the ultimate milestone was not academic success, but rather, the lesson of where my worth should lie. Moreover, this has also propelled me to share with others my struggles in my walk with God, allowing for encouragement, accountability and prayer to take place.
All the experiences that I have listed were the challenges I faced in my life, which were bitter to taste when I was experiencing them. However, I am learning to see that the bitter experiences can be turned into opportunities to walk ever so closely with God, and to understand His purposes and goodness in spite of difficulties. I challenge you today to look at the challenges you have in your life and to learn to see beyond the struggle—God can turn it all into something beautiful in His own time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Just had an email saying that the course I was accepted to 3 weeks ago had been cancelled. With the rent for next year signed (1 year contract) and about 2-3 weeks to the deadline to apply for another course, I’m panicking and wondering if everything will work out. Been praying for a word of encouragement, and sure enough this post popped up on my Facebook feed. It’s not easy, but I trust God that all things will work out. God bless!
Hi Ariel. 🙂
I’m Cass – the writer of this piece. I saw your comment, and was very heartened that God had used this as an opportunity to encourage you! It must be a difficult time now – and I will keep you in prayer for the outcome of your course application. Not easy, but in the process, may you learn to trust Him More!
Thanks for the timely encouragement! I myself have been on a job hunt for the last 6 months, looking for full-time employment upon graduation from my Master’s degree. I’ve been going from one interview to another and honestly feeling drained and discouraged with every closed door I encountered. Meanwhile I’m grateful that I still have some freelance work. I’m still waiting, trusting and surrendering all to God. May He open the right doors at the right time.
Hi Mei. Cass here – thank you for writing in. 🙂 It is definitely not an easy process to seek and wait for God, and I hope that you will continue to hope in Him despite the challenges. Like how He saw you through your Masters degree (which is an amazing feat!), He will surely see you through your job search as well.
May Matthew 6:25-34 encourage you today that God will provide everything that you need. He will carry you through, and He will carry me through too.
Cass, thank you for this piece – l found it very encouraging!
Thank you for sharing. God is such a wonderful Father, Savior and friend. I’m so thankful we can rest in His sovereignty over all things. ♥️
Your piece is encouraging to keep on praying and waiting for Gods timing even when its very hard. My situation is I am a single mom who has been seeking the right fitting job for me and my family. There is no income except Child support which I am grateful for but its still not enough. Without going into to many details I am very discouraged about my health situations that keep me in a panic and ashamed mode on most days while looking for work. Waiting for God to intervene. It is hard to see God when you are so overwhelmed. Especially during these holiday seasons
This article is very encouraging for someone like me who is experiencing some sort of skin problem down south. I keep praying that God is in control over my health. Thanks.
Thank you, Cass. Your piece has given me timely encouragement as I am dealing with being back in college long after graduating (24 years) and also dealing with the process of grieving the death of my husband a year ago. All the while I have been looking for employment in my major and have experienced one closed door after another.
Thank you for reminding me that God is with us in the struggles and he will provide an employment opportunity that is beyond what I can imagine.
Thank you for reminding me that it is more important to have a relationship with the Lord and to live my life on his terms rather than my own.