Responding To A Difficult Situation — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Responding To A Difficult Situation — Morning Devotions

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll - a great thought to keep in mind.

By Chris WittsThursday 3 Aug 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

Subscribe to Morning Devotions podcast

Morning Devotions with Chris Witts podcast hero banner


From time to time, I receive emails or letters from listeners of this morning devotion segment. It’s always encouraging to get feedback, and one day I received a brief note. I won’t use this lady’s name, she said, “Listening to Christian teaching calms me and helps me to think about how I respond to difficult situations I choose to face, she said. Many hurts and injustices that go back to my childhood. It isn’t easy doing this inner work, but it’s freeing up emotions. Thank you for the positive thoughts.”

Now I was appreciative, appreciative of this lady’s note because it prompted my thinking. How do we respond to difficult situations? I think it’s a worthwhile question. How do you define? Actually what is a difficult situation? It could be one of hundreds of situations, but the thing is, it’s uniquely yours. It’s nobody else’s.

We can be forced into a stressful situation. We didn’t choose. Chuck Swindle was fond of saying, Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. And it makes a lot of sense in a difficult time, it’d be easy to sit back, feeling bad, looking for people to blame and to complain. Rehashing what you could have done to make it happen differently. Well, it’s what people have done.

What do I do? An interesting book that’s been available for a while by Richard Carlson called ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’. Now it’s one of these self-help books. It shows you how to put challenges into perspective, to reduce your stress and anxiety through making some changes and how to find the path towards the goal that you have some good ideas. I guess you could call it positive psychology, teaching us to focus on the now and to find balance by living through contentment.

So this book ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. It actually spent over 100 weeks on The New York Times best seller list. It’s still considered today one of the fastest growing books of all time selling, I think, 15 million copies and Dr Carlson basically says that everyone you meet is here to teach you something. So there it is. How do you respond to those difficulties?

We know life can get you down, and I’m sure that the key to overcoming difficulties is how we respond to it. Just as Chuck Swindall said, you can get angry and frustrated or despondent, or you can assess where you are and find the best plan to move through. Now in the Bible, we read about a prophet. His name was Jeremiah at a time of war, and the people of Israel had broken God’s covenant, and the Babylonians had taken them into captivity as prisoners.

But Jeremiah was God’s man, and when he wrote his famous letter to the exiles, you can see that in Jeremiah, Chapter 29 he encouraged the people to do three things. He encouraged practical steps for his fellow prisoners to make life better. God told the people who were prisoners to build houses to plant gardens. He told them to start families to make the best of their present situation.

Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by

Then there are lots of small steps that we can take, and the second thing that Jeremiah did, he said, do something to bless other people. He told the people of Israel to pray for the welfare of that city where they’d been sent and that God was saying. “Yeah, pray for your enemies. It’s an amazing thing.” But something wonderful happens here. When we start caring about other people, even those who work against us.

Why not choose to pray for the people around you?

And the third thing that I notice, God says to Jeremiah, “look to God for your ultimate help”. And God said through that man, the Prophet Jeremiah – I will be kind and bring you back to Jerusalem. I will bless you with a future filled with hope. A future of success, not of suffering. So God was with them all of the time. God, He was in there in the times of sorrow.

And today, as we think about it, He wants us to know Him. And He’s involved with our lives. When you feel inadequate or facing difficulties. He’s the one who stands with you. And the Lord actually is referred to as El Shaddai – Which means He is the ‘enough God’. The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, sometimes setbacks, disappointments are part of life. I wish it were not so. But today help me, Lord to be positive, not to complain about my setbacks. Because maybe, Lord, you’ve got something good to teach me today. Amen.