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How to change your perspective in hard times

By: lindsay frist

I wonder a lot as of late what all this suffering is for. Why is it necessary? Why does it feel so impossible to overcome? 

Then, I remembered something so simple, it's profound. Jesus. Yes, Jesus suffered and told us that we should expect to suffer, too (John 16:33). But suffering isn’t just a fact of following Jesus; it’s an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus. 

 Suffering isn’t just a fact of following Jesus; it’s an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus. 

At times, Jesus has to bring us to a point of realizing what a deep need we have and need to have for him. In my pain, I become more aware that I am so powerless, lost, weak, confused, and exhausted. 

In seasons of suffering, we have a choice: to wallow in our emotions or to know the truth and believe that Jesus can work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Here are some things the Lord is showing me that I hope will help you. 

Five Ways to Change Your Perspective About Suffering

1. Read God’s Word. 

In times of suffering and struggle, we are most susceptible to believing lies. God's Word is truth. We should consistently read the Bible for instruction and wisdom, but never more than when we are in the middle of suffering. In desperate times, we need to fill our minds with things of God and make sure our mind is strong to keep lies out.  

2. Look for reasons to be thankful. 

This idea of practicing gratitude came up twice in one week during seemingly unconnected conversations. So, I took that as a message from the Lord and started telling God out loud what I am thankful for. Whether I was in the middle of a hard moment or preparing for bed, thankfulness softened my heart, gave me perspective, and gave me a chance just to thank God for who He is and all He has done.

3. Release anxiety and rely on God. 

Releasing all my anxieties to God through prayer brings me peace and helps me trust God more. I am anxious. A lot. For some reason, I kept thinking that I would be complaining if I talked to God about all the things worried me or bogged my mind down. 

Then a friend texted Philippians 4:6 to me. She said she was praying for me, and the Lord put this verse on her heart: "do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition present your requests to God." 

Reading that verse, I felt like God was giving me full permission to share everything with Him — my worries, anxieties that seemed paralyzing and all my doubts. 

Did God change my whole situation? Nope. In some ways, it got worse. But, you know what? I got better. By handing my whole broken heart over to God in prayer, He healed it in a way that brought deep relief. And I started to trust and believe Him in a way I had not before.

4. Believe the best about the situation. 

2 Corinthians 4:13 says, "I believed, therefore I spoke." I have also heard this verse paraphrased as, "speak those things that are not as though they are." Speak peace into your situation out loud. Speak healing into your body. Speak refreshment into your spirit. Speak redemption into your marriage. Speak salvation into your home. Speak hope into your circumstances.

5. Allow others to pray with and for you. 

A friend and her husband who have been praying for my family stopped us in the lobby at church and asked, "Could me and my husband pray for you guys?" They grabbed me and my husband and a few other guys, and they laid hands on us and poured their hearts out to God on our behalf. 

I shook with the tears streaming down my face as they spoke healing and blessing into our lives. I felt like something in us shifted in that moment. I will never forget the power in those prayers. Not because the things they said were fancy and deeply theological. But because they were our brothers and sisters who loved us enough to put their arms around us, pray for us, and remind us of God’s greatness during a difficult situation. We need to make this a priority for one another — to carry each other’s burdens, to believe and pray and weep and rejoice with one another.

A few years ago, I got a tattoo on my arm. After my first round of depression was fading and I had learned so much about the Lord, myself, and life in general, I wanted the word “peace” in a place where I could see it every day. 

Philippians 4:9 says, "... and the God of peace will be with you." God is peace, and He brings peace into our suffering. Does that mean all the circumstances will turn out the way you want them to? Not really. Does it mean you will be happy with the outcome? Maybe not. 

But our God is a God of peace and that same God lives in your heart.  His peace will come. It may not happen right away, and it might not be easy. But God also does not leave His children, so His peace can not leave you.

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