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Turn to God in the Midst of Problems

God will strengthen you and help you

Doug Britton, MFT

Part 2 of a 4-part series on “Growing through Problems”

Part 1      Part 3      Part 4


If you go through difficult times, you may get mad, at God or at those who caused your problems. Or you may feel sorry for yourself, become depressed, get angry with yourself, become fearful, or wonder if God loves you.

These are all normal emotions. But don’t stop there. Ask God to help you draw close to him and to put your trust in him.

Psalm 13 gives us a pattern we can follow. In this short psalm, David describes the agony he is experiencing, asks for God’s help, proclaims his trust in God’s love, and then praises God.

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13)

Sometimes it’s difficult to follow David’s example. For example, if a family member dies or you go through a personal crisis, you may experience deep sorrow or grief. If that happens, don’t feel guilty. God understands. After all, godly people in the Bible also experienced grief. Read Acts 20:37-38 and 21:13 for two examples.

Although it may take time to recover from grief, God will help you as you turn to him. Remember the Bible’s promise:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Discussion questions

1. When you go through hard times, how do you usually respond?

2. How would you like to respond?

Remember that God is with you

Sometimes God protects us from going through potential problems, and sometimes he miraculously delivers us from problems that confront us. But sometimes we must go through difficult times. When we do, God is always there to walk with us.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14)

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:24)

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. (Psalm 61:3)

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah (Psalm 68:19)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Discussion questions

3. Does it comfort you to know God is with you when you are in the midst of a problem? Why or why not?

4. How can you remind yourself that God is with you in hard times?

Pray to know God’s peace

Regardless of your circumstances, you can experience God’s peace. That’s because God’s peace comes from your relationship with Jesus, not your circumstances. Read Jesus’ encouraging words:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

The peace Jesus is talking about is very different from the peace you experience when life is going well. It comes from his Holy Spirit, and it comes from remembering he loves you and is with you regardless of your circumstances.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Discussion questions

5. What is the difference between the peace that comes from our circumstances and the peace Jesus offers us?

6. What steps can we take to experience God’s peace when we go through problems?

Ask God to intervene

Pray for God’s peace, but also pray for God to intervene in the situation. That’s what David did many times when he was facing enemies or difficulties.

A prayer of David. Hear me, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. (Psalm 86:1-7)

I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalm 18:1-6)

Discussion questions

7. Does God always intervene and “fix” our problems? Explain your answer.

8. If God doesn’t always solve our problems, why should we pray when we are in the midst of a difficulty?

Pray for guidance

Ask God to help you in your situation, but also ask for wisdom about what to say or do. Read Psalm 31 as an example of how to do this. In this short prayer, David asked God to rescue him, and he also asked God to guide him.

For the director of music. A psalm of David. In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. (Psalm 31:1-4)

Discussion question

9. Why should we pray for wisdom? Isn’t it good enough to just use common sense?

Pray for those who mistreat you

One of the most challenging commands Jesus gave us is to love our enemies and to pray for those who mistreat us. That doesn’t mean we never should confront people or take strong actions, but it does mean we should watch our attitude and have genuine concern for everyone—even when we confront them.

But I tell you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Discussion questions

10. When people mistreat you, do you feel like praying for them? If not, should you pray for them anyway? Why or why not?

11. Is it sometimes okay to confront someone or take strong action, or should we only pray for them? Explain your answer.

Meditate on key passages in the Bible

When you go through hard times, turn to God’s word. Look up some of the verses you have been reading in this study. Make your own list of verses you can draw upon when in the midst of difficulties.

Many people have found that thinking about God’s love helps them go through the most difficult times. Here’s a powerful passage that can strengthen you by the knowledge of God’s love no matter what you are going through:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

Discussion question

12. Review the verses you have read so far in this study. What are some verses that will help you when you go through hard times? How will they help?

Find support from other followers of Jesus

When you go through difficult times, ask fellow believers for prayer and advice. (If you ask for advice, be sure to choose mature Christians—ones who will give you godly counsel instead of simply taking your side or getting upset on your behalf.)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

Discussion questions

13. What are potential benefits of asking a friend for prayer or counsel?

14. What are potential dangers of asking a friend for prayer or counsel?

Memory verse

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Digging deeper

Read Psalms 3, 4, 5, 20, 22, 23, 40, 57, 77, and 142.

Make it personal

1. Should you feel guilty if you go through sorrow or grief over a loss? Why or why not?

2. When you go through a hard time, how can you be strengthened by knowing that God is with you?

3. When going through a hard time, how can you remember that God is with you?

4. Why is it a good idea to ask God to intervene when you face problems?

5. Why is it a good idea to pray for guidance when you face problems?

6. Why should you pray for people who mistreat you?

7. Pray, asking God to help you turn to him when you go through difficult times.

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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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