by Rick Warren — July 15, 2023
From How to Get Through What You’re Going Through
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)
Life is full of heartache. We suffer, feel lonely and discouraged, and face criticism. And sometimes that can feel unfair—but it’s not!
Ask yourself this: Did Jesus suffer? Was he sometimes lonely? Was he tempted to be discouraged? Was he misunderstood and criticized unjustly?
Yes! Jesus understands suffering better than anyone.
None of us are exempt from suffering, loneliness, discouragement, or criticism, because God is developing in us the character of Christ. In order to do that, he takes us through some of the same struggles that Jesus experienced.
Does that mean God causes tragedies? No, God is good. He won’t cause evil or do evil. But God can use dark and stressful times for good. He’ll use them to show us how to help others, to teach us to trust him, and to draw us closer to other believers.
The apostle Paul and the people around him found this to be true. Paul says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT).
And then Paul goes on to explain how he and his companions learn to trust God through hard times: “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9 NLT).
Through their struggles, they became closer to God but also to other believers: “You are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety” (2 Corinthians 1:11 NLT).
So what should you do when you’re going through difficult times?
- Refuse to be discouraged.
- Remember God is with you.
- Rely on God’s protection and guidance.
We all go through difficult times. The difference for those who believe in Jesus is our confidence in God’s promise to be with us, grow us in spiritual maturity, and use our difficulties for good.