5 Ways to Trust God When Life Hurts

When hard times come our way, it is tempting to wonder if God is trustworthy.

It’s easy to wonder if He sees us or knows what’s going on. Scripture assures us God is trustworthy. He sees, and He knows. So how can we show others we still trust God when life hurts?

Work Hard

Grieve, but don’t give up. We may want to pull the covers over our heads or sit on the couch binging our favorite streaming service to numb the pain.

When Elijah was at the end of his rope, he asked God to take him home. Then he fell asleep. An angel woke Elijah up to eat and have a drink of water before he fell asleep again (1 Kings 19). Going through painful times is exhausting, and letting our bodies rest to recharge is often exactly what we need.

But giving up is a different thing altogether. When Joseph was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt, he worked hard for Potiphar and continued to work faithfully even when he was thrown in jail for something he didn’t do. Ruth worked to gather food for herself and her mother-in-law after her husband died. The apostle Paul never gave up despite all the hardships he endured; he was thrown out of synagogues, chased out of towns, stoned and left for dead, and imprisoned, but he kept contending for the gospel.

Obey God

 When trouble, hardship, persecution, or tragedy pulls the rug from under our feet, it’s easy to throw in the towel. Why bother doing life God’s way when life hurts? Food and alcohol can momentarily relieve stress. Retail therapy feels good at the time. When loneliness is an unwelcome companion, it is easy to seek attention from the wrong kind of person. Why bother?

God’s ways were never meant as a punishment. Rather, obedience is the path of blessing. Temporary escape often causes long-lasting consequences and makes an already tough situation worse. Overeating and drinking lead to being unproductive and often start a vicious cycle of eating/drinking/feeling bad that’s hard to escape. The temporary pleasure of a spending spree quickly fades when the bill arrives. One night with the wrong person can lead to life-changing challenges.


I know how hard this can be. When my father-in-law died unexpectedly 19 years ago, I crawled into bed and simply whispered, “I’m here.” That night I relied on the promise that the Spirit would intercede when we don’t even know what to pray (Romans 8:26).

We err when we think our problems are too big or too small for God. One of the most tragic accounts of the Bible is 2 Chronicles 16:12: “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.” This godly king had defeated great armies when he relied on the Lord, but for some reason, he didn’t talk to God about his feet.

Jairus was facing an impossible situation. Messengers reported that his daughter had just died and he no longer needed to waste Jesus’ time. Jesus told Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36). Earthly resources were exhausted, but Jesus was not limited or deterred, and he told Jairus to trust God for the impossible. Especially when life hurts, it’s imperative to enlist other Christians to pray with and for us.

Embrace an Eternal Mindset

As devastating as earthly struggles can be, we know this is a small part of the story of our lives. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

It’s hard to imagine that what Paul went through would be considered light or momentary, but in view of eternity and the peace and joy waiting for us there, that’s exactly how Paul viewed his struggles. They were of little consequence, surely nothing more than minor bumps in the road, because what was waiting in heaven would be infinitely greater. The struggles are not even worth mentioning because future glory will be that good.

Remember That Others Are Watching

People are listening. When we endure the agony of life in this world, we testify that God is worthy. He doesn’t promise a cushy life and smooth sailing. In fact, he promises the opposite: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). We should expect disappointment, sadness, and heartbreak. Thank God the passage doesn’t end there: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This is when we wait and see how God will weave good through the bad (Romans 8:28) and give us unexplainable peace in the storm (Philippians 4:7). This is when he will strengthen us and help us and hold us up when we can’t stand on our own (Isaiah 41:10), or he will take us home to be with him for the truest rest and the best peace.

This is when letting our light shine points to a hope the world cannot give and a love it can’t offer. We do this when we worship despite the hurt and through the pain and when we continue to look to the One who provides all we need as we need it. Prayerfully, we’ll encourage others that God is worth trusting even and especially when life hurts.

This post is based on the book You Can Trust God When Life Hurts by Amber Albee Swenson (© 2024 Time of Grace Ministry). For more on her work and ministry, visit timeofgrace.org or amberalbeeswenson.org.

How to Ask God for Peace, Patience, Joy & More
Latest posts by Amber Albee Swenson (see all)
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
00:00 / 00:00
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x