Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I’m always on the lookout for helpful stories or quotations. And the other day I found this one I had not heard of before, Pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray.
If you believe in prayer, I’m sure you understand what this is saying. Life has a habit of throwing up difficulties, and it’s then we turn to God and want him to answer our prayer. It’s so easy to get discouraged when trials are in front of us. Sometimes the setbacks that happen in life are to build us and make us stronger in ways we don’t understand at the moment. It’s either discouragement is going to stop you or drive you. Sometimes you have to say to yourself, It’s not going to end like this.
Prayer is at your disposal anytime, day or night. Have you ever had a horrible night where you were struggling with pain, hurt, and anxiety? Have you ever had a night where your situation made it almost impossible for you to pray? Many of us have experienced the dark long night of anxiety and worry—it seems too difficult to trust in God and leave the situation with him. Instead of giving it to the Lord we like to dwell on the problem. No wonder it’s hard to pray in hard times!
We Can Find Peace
When this becomes a habit, this leads to depression. We have to discipline ourselves. As soon as we notice a growing depressing thought, we should immediately run to the Lord. We should work on renewing the mind. We have to set our minds on Jesus. We should continue to remind ourselves who we are in Christ. We are fighters! We don’t have to give in to despair.
It’s like having a virus. We have to kill the virus and stop it from spreading or it’s going to get worse. Always remember, we are not fighting this alone. Exodus 14:14 says, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Be still? How can I do that when I’ve just lost my job or my health takes a sudden downward tumble—or my wife has had a miscarriage? These are real issues that happen every day.
We have an amazing promise that we can lean on when we are mourning loss or in the midst of difficult times. In the tears, in the pain, in the hurt, we have a loving God who wants us to come find rest and comfort in him. Matthew 5:4 tells us, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We can find strength and peace in the midst of sorrow if we believe that God’s grace and sovereignty are greater than any loss of disappointment.
“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)
We may not understand why God allows tragedy to strike us, but we can rest in his infinite wisdom and tender mercies. Do you believe that?
When we don’t know what to do next, we can pray. But what good will come from praying? Why talk to Jesus? Because he understands suffering—not in some distant cosmic way, but in the flesh. He suffered greatly during his time on earth. He was innocent and died a cruel and horrible death. You can talk to Jesus because he cares about you and knows what you are going through.
The Bible describes him as a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 – ESV). He knew fear and anxiety, physical suffering, hunger, cold, and sadness. He wept. He even questioned God. Jesus spent many hours alone in prayer – He prayed the hardest when it was hardest to pray.
There Is Reason for Hope
We need answers and we need an opportunity to ask these questions. God is not threatened by our questions; he gave us inquisitive minds for a reason. Not only are we to ask God these things, but we should seek wise counsel from people who have studied these questions in depth. Why not contact your Christian friends who can give you some insight and help in your questions? I’m sure they would be happy to assist. Plus they may have experiences of their own to share with you.
Living by faith means waking up in the morning and saying, God, I have no idea what You are doing. My world is a mess and it hurts. But I know You are there and You say that You love me, so I am going to get out of bed this morning and see if today is the day that You make things right.
When God created the world, it was perfect and beautiful. He created man and woman and gave them free will. Our choices brought sin into the world. The perfect world he created was ruined, but God didn’t abandon us to our choices. He sent redemption in the form of his Son. He sent a Saviour to bring us hope.
There is reason to hope, even now. The Bible tells us that God promises he will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). He can make something beautiful out of ugly circumstances. He can bring good out of what others meant for evil (Genesis 50:20). He still offers hope and peace to each of us today. There is a line in an old hymn that says, “Let there be peace in the world and let it begin with me.” Whether that means peace on a worldwide scale or peace in your own heart, it can begin with you right now.
Allow God to be your comfort in these troubled times. God promises us “peace that passes understanding.” In other words, peace in a world that doesn’t make sense. You can know peace, even while the world is in turmoil. God does not change. Ever.