When you face a hardship in life, is fear the first emotion you feel? It doesn’t have to be. We can respond in faith regardless of our circumstances. Remember, courage isn’t just an attitude of toughness or determination. It is a quality of mind and spirit that enables us to meet the challenges of life with peace.

Here are four important things to do when facing life’s trials:

1. Be aware of God’s presence.

The most important thing to realize through any hardship or temptation is that God is with you. While other people may desert you, the Lord never will.

Remember what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). Once we trust Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit will always be with us, no matter what.

2. Draw from God’s strength.

Stressful circumstances can drain us emotionally, physically, and spiritually, thereby making us more vulnerable to satanic attacks. Another key to facing any difficulty with courage is to draw from the Lord’s strength.

As Jesus said, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to help us. The Spirit is third person of the Godhead, and He dwells within every born-again believer, providing divine power for living the Christian life.  Through Him we gain discernment and spiritual wisdom. He strengthens us physically and guides our emotions as we submit to His leading.

3. Yield to His purpose.

When Paul stood before the Roman tribunal to give his defense, he knew their authority amounted to nothing compared to the power of God. He also knew his suffering was for a specific purpose. The apostle said, “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Tim. 4:16-17, emphasis added).

Paul, knowing the Lord is always near, realized he could yield to the Father’s will. It wouldn’t be the tribunal’s decision whether or not to take his life; it would be God’s. Because Paul trusted the Lord’s plan, he was able to give one of the greatest defenses of the faith ever proclaimed. His suffering served a purpose—to share the message of the risen Savior with the Gentiles, and eventually the world.

We need to know our suffering is not in vain. God sometimes allows affliction in order to accomplish His purposes, which include demonstrating to the world His faithfulness through our lives. Hardship gives us the chance to say, “Let me tell you about the Lord. He is the source of my strength, faith, perseverance, and endurance. He’s the One enabling me to go through this.”

4. Meditate on His Word.

There is one other thing that can keep our spirits up during difficult times—God’s Word. Paul specifically asked Timothy to bring his books and parchments when he was on trial in Rome (2 Tim. 4:13). While nobody knows for certain, those books were possibly early writings of the gospel (or some portion of it) and the parchments referred to Hebrew Scripture.

In spite of the sermons Paul preached, the churches he established, and the profound knowledge he had, he was just as normal as any of us. He needed the living Word of God to remind him of the truth and provide encouragement. When we encounter hardships in life, reading Scripture on a daily basis protects our hearts and minds.

Our Choice

No one chooses to go through times of pain and sorrow in life. But we can choose our response. We can decide to pray, “Father, thank You for never leaving me—and for strengthening me now. Please use me, whatever it takes, to accomplish Your purposes. And Lord, as I meditate upon Your Word, nourish my soul with the truth, and see me through this hard time.”

Friend, if you’ll remember to do these four things, you’ll be filled with the courage to walk through any trial and be victorious in the Lord Jesus Christ.