Life in this world is really hard.
Sometimes excruciatingly hard. And when we believe in Jesus and call upon him to save us, it doesn’t mean our troubles will end. God will definitely deliver us from evil, and spare us from all kinds of pain we would bring upon ourselves by sin apart from him, but he tells us in his word that we will suffer, and we shouldn’t be shocked when we do. For example he says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 PE 4:12
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 1 PE 1:6
But God gives us many promises we can cling to in hard times, and gives us a number of things we can do to experience his peace. I’m not saying these are all easy to do. We must fight the good fight of faith. We must battle to continue to believe God’s word and trust him. But when we fight this fight, God will be faithful to fill our hearts with his peace.
Keep your mind stayed on God, not your circumstances
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. IS 26.3
The temptation in any situation is to take your eyes off the Lord and focus on our circumstances. As long as Peter kept eyes on Jesus, he walked on the water. But when he got distracted, and began to look at the wind and the waves, he began to sink. One of the greatest challenges in affliction is to trust God and not focus on our situation. And when we trust our heavenly Father, he will keep us in perfect peace.
Remind yourself that God is good
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. PS 119.68
God’s goodness means he always does the right thing, the best thing. He never does evil. Each day of creation God looked at what he had made and saw that it was good. God couldn’t have made a more excellent creation. He always does a good job, a great job. If I ever need surgery I want a doctor who is good – meaning he will do an excellent job. He will do the right thing. God always treats his children good. He will always do the very best thing in our lives.
Take up the shield of faith
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one EPH 6.16
The fiery darts of the enemy are his arrows of doubt, his lies about God. Just as with Eve, he will say, “Are you sure God is good? Is God really righteous? Is he really in control? God doesn’t hear your prayers.” That’s when we must lift up the shield of faith, to remind ourselves of God’s word and his promises.
Ask your heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. PS 32.8
What a promise! The God who knows all things, past, present and future promises to personally teach us, instruct us, guide and counsel us. When going through a hard time cry out to him for guidance, which he will surely give you.
Remind yourself that God is sovereign
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. RO 8.28
There is not one atom in the universe outside God’s control. Not one thing can happen to us that he won’t work for our ultimate good. Remember what Joseph said to his brothers who had so horribly betrayed him?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. GE 50:20
God even uses the evil plans of men to bring about good for his children. No matter what we are going through, God is in control over every bit of our situation, and will turn it to our good.
Remind yourself that God is infinitely wise
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. PR 3:19-20
In his infinite wisdom, God knows what is best for us. He knows exactly how much we can bear. He knows the purpose and effects of every hardship he allows us to go through.
Remind yourself that God loves you.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. RO 8.38-39
God loves you so much he sent his Son to save you. Jesus loves you so much he poured out his blood on the cross to wash your sins away. If God loves us this much and did this much to purchase us for himself, he will certainly help us, guide us and provide for us.
Remind yourself that God is with you
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. IS 43.2
Believers in Jesus Christ are never alone. In the deepest waters or darkest nights, God is right by our side. We don’t see him, we may not sense his nearness, and everything around us may scream that we are alone. But God has promised to be with us through waters, rivers, fire and flame.
Remind yourself that God won’t fail to keep his word
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? NU 23.19
It would be a horrible universe if the Creator was a liar. But God has never and will never lie, change his mind, or forget to fulfill his every promise. If he said it, he will do it and we can bank on it.
Remind yourself that nothing is impossible with God
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” MT 19.26
No situation is too hard for God to change. No one is too far gone for Jesus to save. No need is too great for him to meet. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He can change your situation.
Remind yourself that God is a rewarder of those who seek him
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. HEB 11:6
Sometimes we’re tempted to feel our prayers are in vain. But God promises to reward us when we seek him. He may not reward us in the way we want him to, and the timing of when he rewards us is up to him, but he will certainly not fail to reward those who seek him.
Remind yourself that God cares for you
…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 PE 5.7
If you are God’s child, he cares for you. He loves you. He sees you in Christ, one with Christ. He loves you with an infinite love. We may not understand how God could care for us and allow us to go through certain things, but we must believe his word. Cast your cares on the one who cares for you.
Remember your heavenly Father loves to give gifts to his children
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! MT 7:11
We love to give our children gifts. I would do anything I could for my kids. Where do we get this? I believe the Giver of every good gift has put it into our nature. Our heavenly Father delights to give all kinds of gifts to his children. Ask him for whatever you need. He’s just waiting to help you and bless you.
Thank God for as much as you can
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5.18
We can always thank God in the midst of all circumstances. We can thank him for saving us, for his steadfast love, kindness, and faithfulness. We can thank him that he is causing our circumstances to work for our good. We can thank him for a thousand things, even when we are suffering. Cultivating the habit of thankfulness actually strengthens our faith and gives us hope.
God desires his children to experience his peace. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever have serious concerns or be tempted to be anxious. It doesn’t mean we will always feel peace. But as we fight the good fight of faith, we will increasingly experience the deep peace of God.