3 Ways to Avoid Discouragement in Trials

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Trials are part of the human experience.

Ever since the fall of man in Genesis 3, we are all subject to trials and adversity in life. This is true for the Christian as well as the unbeliever.

However, there is a distinct difference between the Christian and the unbeliever when it comes to the outcome of these trials.

And it is this difference that gives us hope and keeps us from falling into discouragement and despair when we go through times of trial and adversity.

person sitting on couch next to lamp head on fist

I love the quote from my Dr. F. Dean Hackett – Foundational (who is also my dad):

Adversity is normal Christian living
Defeat is abnormal.

Dr. F Dean Hackett – Foundational

You can read the Bible from cover to cover, but there is one verse you will never find. It’s the verse that promises us that Christians never have to suffer.

What is unfortunate is how much of the gospel has been hijacked by a philosophy that following Christ means that you live your best life here on earth:

  • You’re thin
  • You’re always healthy
  • You’re successful
  • God takes care of all your troubles

And there is an element of truth to the idea that God does deliver us from troubles, but what He doesn’t do is keep all your troubles away.

When we get to heaven, we will finally have a life without troubles and trials and adversity. That is why we must work to keep an eternal perspective.

This is why we lay up treasure in heaven, not here on earth.

Why would God allow adversity in our lives?

I believe there are two very good reasons why Christians are allowed to suffer trials and adversity.

1. God uses adversity to strengthen our faith and trust in Him

God doesn’t bring adversity; but He does allow it.

We see this clearly in the book of Job. God didn’t destroy Job’s life, Satan did; but he could only bring destruction into Job’s life by God’s permission and within the boundaries God had set.

Satan wasn’t allowed to do more to Job than God had allowed.

God used this adversity brought on by Satan to test Job, and Job passed the test. Sure, there were moments when Job was overcome by grief – who wouldn’t be?

He lost all his children in one day. Imagine that level of grief!

His health suffered greatly, and anyone who has ever gone through long-term health struggles knows how you can face physiologically-based depression.

How irritable you become, how frustrating it is.

But, one thing Job didn’t suffer was a lack of faith and trust in God. His faith in God was solid, and it deepened through that devastating experience.

2. God uses adversity for His ultimate glory

Romans 8:28 tells us that when we love God and are called according to His purposes, He will turn all things for good.

I know, when we’re in the middle of a huge trial, setback, disappointment – when life delivers a blow that we didn’t see coming and has knocked us off our feet, it’s hard to imagine that it could turn for good.

But this is God’s promise.

And not just in Romans.

3 Ways to Avoid Discouragement in Trials

Very recently, my family was faced with an unexpected blow, and it really knocked me off of my feet; and yet, I knew that through this trial, I had to cling to Scripture as my lifeline.

Without it, I would drown in self-pity, depression, and anxiety.

I was led to Psalm 34, and it was in this Psalm that I found some wonderful promises that I hold on to and pray over every single day.

1. Worship God

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3

This goes beyond the fact that music can be a great mood-booster.

Worship, by it’s very definition, declares God’s supremacy, greatness, and power. It reminds our soul and spirit of the great things He has done and of His character and nature that is full of mercy and grace.

It puts our trials and adversity into perspective as we remind ourselves that compared to God, they are small, and that nothing is too great for Him.

2. Seek God’s Face and Cry Out to Him

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were radiant: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:4-8

When trials and adversity hit, where do we turn to first?

For some it is Dr. Google, for others it is a close friend or family member. Some people turn to food, alcohol, or drugs to relieve their anxiety and depression.

We all have our “escape mechanisms”: social media, streaming services that let us binge-watch our favorite shows, movies, going out with friends…

The problem is that when we turn to anyone or anything other than God, at some point the lights go out and we find ourselves in the quiet of the night, faced with the same problem we’ve been trying to escape.

Man does not have all of the answers. Dr. Google most often misdiagnoses. Food, alcohol, and drugs not only do not make our problems go away, they create newer and bigger problems than we had to begin with.

David turned to God; and God delivered him from all his fears.

Those who look to God for their help in times of trials are radiant, not ashamed, saved from their troubles, sheltered in their trials, and blessed.

He goes on to say this:

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. Psalm 34:15-22

There are 5 things we see in these verses

  • God sees you (The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous)
  • God hears your cry (His ear is open to their cry, the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears)
  • God will deliver you ([He] delivers them out of all their troubles, the Lord delivers him out of them all.)
  • God is near to you (The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart)
  • God is protecting you (He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken, none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned)

We also see this very interesting verse “Many are the afflictions of the righteous…”

Perhaps that doesn’t sound very encouraging, but in a funny way it is. Have you ever been in the middle of a trial when the enemy whispered in your ear, “If you were really saved…” or “If you were really a Christian….” or “If you read your Bible and prayed like you know you should, you wouldn’t be going through this right now.”

May I tell you a secret?

God doesn’t punish His children this way! God will never visit adversity on us as punishment. He disciplines, but His discipline always has a purpose to restore and reconcile – never to shame or condemn us.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous.

We live in a fallen world filled with sin, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. But we have this hope: Our God is bigger, stronger, and greater than our adversity!

He sees us, He hears us, and He delivers us!

But even more than that, He will take that adversity and turn it around for good, because He will be glorified through whatever we are facing right now.

3. Fear God

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:9-14

No matter how difficult our trial may be, no matter how great our adversity may seem, we cannot afford to become bitter at God.

We cannot afford to turn our back on the very One who is able to save and deliver!

The Proverbs say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that is exactly what we need in times of trials and adversity.

We need wisdom.

James says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God who gives it in abundance and does not discriminate.

So, in these times of trials, when we need wisdom more than ever, the first thing we should do is turn to God’s Word. Memorize it, meditate on it, direct our heart to fear and reverence Him – because here is where we will find wisdom.

The more we renew our minds, so that our thoughts, behaviors, and worldview align with God’s, the more wisdom will grow in our hearts.

We will have divine insight into our problems and God will show us the path to walk through them to a victorious end.

He will open our eyes to see how His powerful hand is working through our trials and adversities to bring good in our lives, and how He is turning it around so that our trial becomes a testimony.

This is wisdom – and it only comes as we learn to fear God.

And fear of the Lord grows in our hearts as we meditate on His Word and renew our minds according to Scripture.

Dear sister, if you’ve gotten this far in this article today, that means you must be going through your own trial and adversity.

I pray that this chapter has brought some hope to your heart and encouragement and peace to your mind.

May I encourage you today to memorize this chapter and meditate on it?

I know, it may seem a little daunting to memorize a whole chapter of the Bible – but, as the proverb says, you can accomplish an overwhelming task by “eating the elephant one bite at a time”.

You can memorize Psalm 34 – the whole chapter – one verse at a time.

And there is no deadline. There is no race to the finish line. You have the rest of your life to accomplish this task, but I promise you, if you do, you will be blessed more than you can imagine.

As you memorize this chapter, meditate on it’s meaning. Ask yourself how this passage applies to you right now.

Think about what God is trying to say to you, and how He wants to change your thinking, your defaults, your triggered responses, and your escape mechanisms.

Finally, ask Him for wisdom to see your trial and adversity through His eyes.

This is wisdom: the ability to see life and it’s circumstances from God’s perspective; the ability to see His hand at work through our lives…even the hard times.

One way I have found to meditate on Scripture effectively is using this Scripture Memorization Challenge pack. It’s free for you to download and use. You can find it here or by clicking on the image below: Scripture Memorization Challenge Printable Pack

Grab this scripture memorization Challenge printable pack today and begin hiding God's Word in your heart and renewing your mind. #alittlerandr #memorzing #Bible #jesus #God

Coming 9/19

More About Renewing the Mind:

Resources for Renewing the Mind:

10 Bible Verses for Renewing Your Mind – FREE Printable!

10 Bible Verses for Renewing Your Mind Bookmark – FREE Printable!

30 Day Prayer Challenge for Renewing the Mind

Prayer and Meditation Journal for Renewing Your Mind

Articles on Renewing the Mind:

3 Powerful Steps to Renewing the Mind

Why Renewing Your Mind Is Essential for Quality Devotions – Podcast Episode 25

5 Steps For Winning the Battle In Your Mind

10 Bible Verses to Renew Your Mind About Food

How Do You Renew Your Mind?

What Does Renewing Our Mind Mean?

More articles on memorizing, meditation on Scripture and Fasting:

Grab this scripture memorization Challenge printable pack today and begin hiding God's Word in your heart and renewing your mind. #alittlerandr #memorzing #Bible #jesus #God
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3 Easy Ways to Memorize Scripture

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Scripture Memorization Challenge Printable Pack

42 Life-Changing Verses from Psalm 119 – FREE PRINTABLE

What is Biblical Meditation?

10 Bible Passages Every Christian Should Memorize

Romans 6 Bible Verse Memorization Pack

6 Reasons to Reject Eastern Meditation and Yoga

3 Reasons the Bible Gives Us for Christian Meditation

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5 Amazing Benefits of Christian Meditation

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Christian Meditation for Chronic Illness

John 15 Bible Verse Memorization Pack

3 Powerful Things Successful Christians Do Everyday

Hebrews 11 Bible Verse Memorization Pack

The Power of Christian Fasting

How Health Fasting and Biblical Fasting Work Together

Reader Question: Do You Have Tools to Help With Memorizing and Utilizing Scripture? Episode #21

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