Life is tough, and some days it seems like every internal reserve you have is tapped out while the demands and the turmoil continue beating down on you. I’ve been there. Sometimes the weariness and the tension can even lead you to wish you could end it all or make you wonder if it is even worth it to keep trying. As I think over my life and God’s faithfulness, several key lifelines of truth come to mind, so I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve found in Scripture that help me keep going when it feels impossible.
This is by no means an exhaustive collection of relevant passages in Scripture; God’s Word is full of truth that can speak to our hearts in these hard places. And it is true that simply reading words on a page won’t fix everything magically, but God’s Word does not return void. (Is. 55:10-11)
It is through His Word that we find some of the key tools to help us deal with things like depression, shame, hopelessness, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts, and if God’s Spirit is inside of you then He is able to guide your thoughts to truth where the words of the Bible can reach deep into your heart like nothing else can, (2 Cor. 2:10-12, Heb. 4:12-16) so it is important to keep it in front of our eyes and our hearts even when we don’t feel like it or we are tempted to think it won’t do any good.
Even when God doesn’t change our circumstances, He can change us, either by bringing us out of a struggle or by supplying the grace needed to persevere under it. (2 Cor. 12:8-10, Heb. 12:1-3)
So here are 6 reasons, based in Scripture, for why we don’t have to give up:
1. God has not abandoned you
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:7-8
This verse shows the basis for our strength, our courage, and our hope as being God’s presence with us. As much as God was with His people in the Old Testament, He is just as much with us today. This promise to always be with us was repeated by Jesus at His ascension after He rose from the dead. (Matt. 28:20) In fact, as believers in Jesus Christ, God gives us His very Spirit living inside of us, so He is very close at all times.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. – John 14:16-18
2. God does not change
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:17-20
This passage is speaking about God’s promise to Abraham in the Old Testament, which is the basis for His covenant relationship with us through Jesus today. It says that God made this promise in a way that showed His unchanging nature and His inability to lie. These are important characteristics for us to cling to in dark times, because the darkness can make it seem like a lot of things are not how we once saw them to be, but no matter how dark it gets or how far away long-known truth feels, we can hang on by knowing that if God has ever come through before (look to all of Scripture, past references in your life, and testimonies of others) then He is going to still come through for you in the present and the future.
3. Trials will not destroy you
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” – Isaiah 43:1-7
I know that passage was a long one, but it contains some powerful words. God speaks hope and a future over us, but in such a sovereign and faithful way that no hardship can destroy it. (Jer. 29:10-14) God isn’t dependent on everything going well. When things flip upside down and we are walking through fire and the waves are crashing everywhere, He is still there, in control, faithful to His word and unchanging, planning redemption out of the struggle. So in the midst of hard times, we can press in closer to God and not have to cut out of our story too soon, knowing that we are still precious to and loved by Him and that while He sometimes lets darkness come, He never lets it take over.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
4. God is faithful
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25
Similar to the unchanging nature of God, He is faithful to us, so even if the pain and the struggle linger, we don’t have to back down on our confidence that God is making a way for us to live in an honoring manner to Him.
I also want to look at the second part of that passage for a second where it says to spur one another on and encourage each other not to give up. God has not meant for you to push through this alone! He designed community for a reason, and part of that was so that we would have help in not giving up. It is not wrong for you to reach out if you are struggling – it is right for you to reach out.
5. When we have nothing left, we can keep going by relying on God
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
This passage has spoken very powerfully into my life. Paul was writing this letter, speaking of such great hardships he went through – so much so that he said he couldn’t endure but despaired of living! Yet! He saw a way to hold on: God was breaking down any other method of getting by that Paul had and was asking Him to hang on to Jesus alone, because He is enough in and of Himself. Paul found his state of brokenness and emptiness to be a starting place, not an ending place, and He saw God’s past deliverance of him as evidence for being able to count on future deliverance. And again, we can see that Paul references the prayers and support of other Christians as being instrumental in all that he is hoping and trusting God for.
6. God is for you
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 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. – Romans 8:31-37
If these six points have been resonating with you, I’d actually encourage you to go read Romans 8 starting at least back at verse 22. Paul talks about all of creation groaning along with us for the fullness of God’s redemption to be revealed, and how, in the midst of our weakness and not knowing how to pray, God’s Spirit still hears and understands us, praying for us on our behalf. He also talks about how we can know God is using both the good and the bad for our ultimate benefit because He is faithful from beginning to end in His plan of salvation for us. It is all these things, and the ultimate act we saw of God giving up His own Son, Jesus, in order to bring us back to Himself, that assures Paul, and us, that God loves us and is for us and that nothing is powerful enough to break that or hinder it.
I am praying for the God of all hope to fill you with hope today, in the midst of whatever you are going through, and that you would know the riches and depth of His love for you, and His power to save you no matter what you have done or what has been done to you. (Rom. 15:13, Eph. 3:16-21)
Your story isn’t over. God is the Author and the Finisher of your faith; let Him keep writing. (Heb. 12:2)
If you need someone to talk to, you can reach me through the contact form (though please understand that Breaking Free Indeed does not serve as a crisis hotline), you can reach out to a local church, you can connect with someone over at The Hope Line, and you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255