“How can a person make it through trials without the Lord?”

I have heard many Christians ask this question when a loved one dies or some other tragedy turns their world upside down. I have thought about this myself. It’s hard enough to bear the heartaches of life as Christians, but it’s even more difficult to imagine going through this pain without faith and prayer.

Some try to make their troubles go away by entertaining themselves. They turn to fun and games. They watch movies, listen to music, buy things for themselves and do anything enjoyable. While recreation can be therapeutic, it can never substitute for dealing with problems as God teaches.

Others try to be tough and pretend these sorrows don’t bother them. They may even mock their troubles. I have seen cancer patients wear tee shirts with slogans that cussed their disease. That’s not real positive thinking. It’s foolish belligerence.

Many turn to alcohol and other drugs to escape reality and relieve the pain. But when the drugs wear off the hard facts of life are still there staring them in the face.

Some keep themselves busy in the hope that they won’t have to think about what has happened. But while this can also help, there will always be times of rest when those thoughts return.

Some even decide to end their lives. They see no reason to live and take the life their Creator gave them.

How do people who are not Christians cope with hardships? The bottom line is they don’t handle them well. They may seem to face trials with courage and come through them with confidence, but the truth is found in Jesus’ words:

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26-27).

The song children sing about this at Vacation Bible School happens every day.

The calamities of life can open hearts. When lost souls see that they don’t have the wisdom or the strength to handle the pressures of life’s troubles, we can show them the right way. We can give them hope through the gospel. The jail keeper at Philippi almost ended his life when he thought he had failed at his job, but that night Paul and Silas taught him the Word of God and baptized him (Acts 16:25-34). We should be ready when tribulation brings a sinner to his knees. This may take time on his part and patience on ours. We can’t offer a pill that will take away all of the affliction, but we can point to a place where these sorrows will be no more.

-Kerry Duke

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