Bad things are hard to overcome.
During my first year of college, I had committed my life to God and was super excited. I was
ready for the joy that came from being a follower of Christ. But then bad things started to
If you have ever played any kind of sport, you know that it is the other teams' job to make you lose, so that they can win. Many athletes say the best offense is a good defense. In other words, if your opponent loses, you win.
In much the same way, when we become believers, we leave one team and join the other. This
makes the opposing team mad, and instinctively they and their leader attack you twice as hard.
Why? Because you are now Satan’s enemy rather than his teammate. He is not going to make
it hard on you when you are on his side because he wants to keep you there.
My first year of college was tough. Yes, there were great and exciting things that happened, but there were also intense challenges. One Thanksgiving weekend, a long-time friend of mine was driving home and was broadsided, dying on the scene. A few weeks after that I lost my last grandparent, the one I was the closest to. To top that off, temptations seemed to be coming
from every direction, and the girl I had been dating for a year broke up with me.
For a time, I thought of giving up.
The good news is that I didn’t. I wrestled with God then, and have wrestled with Him many times since. The truth is that this only made my faith stronger. It taught me how to push through
adversity, and helped me realize even in the pain I was going through, bad things do pass, and I could overcome.
Using my experience and growth as a guide, here are four ways I hope might help you
overcome hard times you may experience, or be experiencing.
1. Pray. I know it sounds too easy, but prayer works. It has brought me through some of the
toughest situations of my life. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Psalm 23 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” And my favorite is Psalm 121: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” You know the rest. (But go read the whole thing again anyway!)
2. Practice thankfulness. When we dwell on the bad things that are challenging us, it is easy
to get depressed. But when we focus on the positive, it takes our mind off the things that are
hurting us to the things that bring us joy. I do this daily to remind myself how much God has
done for me. It always lifts my heart to happiness. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).
3. Ask for joy. As a father, when my kids come to me asking for something fun, or a tasty treat, I always want to give it to them. To see my girls’ faces lit up with smiles makes my heart happy, too. If you want to experience true joy, ask the God of heaven, and He will provide. “If you then, being 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!” (Matthew 7:11).
4. Help other people. Some of the best times of my life have been spent helping others. There
is something about helping that brings great joy to our hearts. Find a way to make someone
else’s day, and I guarantee it will make yours better. “Do to others as you would have them do
to you” (Luke 6:31).