How Can You Keep On Keeping On When Life is Difficult?


endurance (1)John Eldredge captured the feeling we all have at times when he said that sometimes life feels like a long, brutal assault against one’s heart.  Try as we might to explain it away, perhaps the best summary is that life is not what God originally intended. The Fall of Man continues to have rippling effects on all of humanity, and we find ourselves in a less than perfect world with less than perfect people, including ourselves!

The present result of living in a fallen world is often pain, discouragement, and difficulty. We know that God has come to us, offering redemption in our daily lives through Christ and setting in place the ultimate redemption of all when Christ returns.  Yet in the meantime, we often find ourselves hurt and misunderstood and having hurt others.

How can we care for others and our own hearts in the midst of pain and suffering?

Jesus gave keys to his disciples in John 14 as he prepared their hearts for the difficult days ahead.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” You have a part in guarding your own heart from discouragement. Note that I didn’t say you could necessarily guard your heart from difficulty. Jesus was not offering an exemption from the difficult days which lay ahead of the disciples; he was offering an anchor for the storm.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart above all else because from it, all of our life flows.

This is not an easy true or false test. The disciples all failed the initial test of this truth Jesus shared. Yet they learned through their trials. They became more equipped to handle difficulty. They became wiser to the devices of Satan.

We can guard our hearts by following the instructions of Jesus in John 14.

1. Believe. “You believe in God, believe in Me.”  Faith in God and Jesus are necessary to enduring the trials of life.  It was simpler for the disciples to believe during the days of glory and miracles, but Jesus knew that their emotions, minds, and faith were about to be challenged beyond anything they had previously experienced.

2. Look for the bigger picture. Jesus reminded his followers that there was something beyond this realm and that his purposes included making that available for them to share with him. Their difficulties were very real and yet temporary.

3. Stay focused on helping others. “The works that I do, you will do also, and even greater works.” There is a life-giving flow which happens when we reach beyond ourselves.  

4. Know that you are not alone.  Jesus taught his followers that they would have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would be with them forever.

5. Access the peace that Jesus assured his disciples that he was leaving with them. There is a place of peace found in Jesus that transcends our earthly circumstances.  God’s peace is beyond reason and is available even when life is challenging.  The peace of God indicates our trust that this life is not all there is and that God is still on the throne even when we don’t have a clue what He is doing or is going to do.

I hope this list encourages you. It is not intended to be an easy bandage. I don’t pretend that I am able to consistently do all of the above, but it seems that if Jesus felt these guidelines would help his followers during their tough times, they can also help us.

You can do it! Guard your heart. Believe. Trust. Look for God’s bigger picture. Help others. Lean on the Holy Spirit who is always with you.

God has promised to walk with us through difficult days and is always at work in our lives, redeeming, restoring, and breathing new life into our hearts.  Keep on keeping on because God has an amazing purpose for your life. He has plans to give you future and hope. His plans are good and not evil. His plans include abundant life, both in this world and the world to come.

I believe in you and the God in you, who is able to do more than you can ask or think because of the power of Christ who lives in you.

Keep on keeping on! Christ is in you and he himself is our hope. You can do all things through him!




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  1. Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord(be impowered through your union with Him) draw your strength from Him (that strength which His boundless might provides). I will strive for the prize of the high calling of God and I will run this race with His strength in me. Thanks Mikki for such an encouraging word today!!

  2. Noemi says:

    “…sometimes life feels like a long, brutal assault against one’s heart.”–>Indeed, but more importantly, your list is very encouraging. Thank you for your inspiring blog posts.

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