When I was 18, I walked away from God. For so long, I had been praying, pleading, begging for His help with what I was going through—but He still seemed so distant and uninterested in helping me. So I figured that if life was going to be hard with or without Him, I was better off on my own. At least then I wouldn’t continue to get my hopes up, praying to a God who was never going to show up for me.
Maybe you feel that way, too. Are you about to give up on pursuing God? Maybe you’re wondering where He is or why He’s allowing what’s happening to you. You might be one unanswered prayer away from throwing in the towel on your relationship with Him for good.
I’m so glad you found this article. We might have a lot in common. And I want you to know that after I gave up on faith in one of the most difficult seasons of my life, that’s when I found my reason to keep pursuing God after all, even when life is hard.
Here’s what happened when I stopped following God …
In some ways, nothing. Nothing about my circumstances changed. When I stopped following Jesus, my life pretty much stayed the same. I was still facing the difficult things I was facing before.
But while nothing on the outside was different, everything on the inside was different. And in all the worst ways. I felt depressed, angry, and hopeless, and I felt more alone than I ever had before.
I only lasted without God for a few months. I needed Him. I missed Him. The things I was facing were so much harder to face without the peace, hope, and comfort that accompany His presence. But in the moment I cried out to Him again (terrified, by the way, that He wouldn’t come back to me after all I had done to shut Him out), I immediately felt peace return. I felt like I could make it. I felt like everything was going to be okay, even though my external circumstances were, once again, no different.
Why I Keep Pursuing God
So why do I keep pursuing God when life is hard? Because life is a lot harder without Him.
I know that what you’re facing might be the hardest thing you’ve ever faced. But I also know from personal experience that facing something that hard without God is even worse. Because without Him, there is no peace. There is no comfort or healing. Without Him, there is no way through the fear or the crushing weight of whatever it is you’re carrying.
And I have to be honest: Continuing to pursue God when life is hard might not change your circumstances. But it will change you. Because you will have His presence—and all the goodness that He brings with Him—in the middle of the storm with you.
So what does it actually look like to pursue God when life is hard? The answer might surprise you.
Practical Ways to Pursue God When Life Is Hard
1. Pursue Him when life is easy.
There have been seasons in my life when I only prayed when things weren’t going well or I needed something from God. But so often, our faith isn’t built in the challenging times—that’s when our faith is tested. Instead, our faith is built in the moments when we’re not in a storm. And the way we build our faith is by seeking God—and as Psalm 105 says, seeking Him all the time. If we spend time building our relationship with God when life is going well, we’ll have already created that habit in ourselves to pursue Him when life is hard.
2. Invite others in.
A few years ago, one of my closest friends walked through an intense mental health challenge. I remember meeting with her one morning to have coffee, and I just felt so helpless as I watched her drown in her depression—and there wasn’t anything I could do. When I asked her how I could help her, she said, “I need you to hold on to God for me.”
In that time of her life, she was so deep in her depression that she didn’t have the strength or the faith to keep pursuing God—but I did. I could pray for her when she couldn’t find the words. I could believe in God’s goodness even when she didn’t. I could trust that God was with her even when she couldn’t feel His presence.
Whatever you’re going through, don’t go through it alone. We’re called to bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). And if you don’t have supportive friendships with people who can walk through the hard moments with you, you can start by making some friends in a LifeGroup, whether in person or online.
Find a supportive community.
3. Be honest with God.
Sometimes we think we can only connect with God when we have our lives together—and so when our lives don’t feel like they’re together, we think we have to get cleaned up or get things figured out before we can seek Him again.
But Jesus says that we can come to Him when we’re burdened or feeling weighed down (Matthew 11:28-30). We don’t have to get cleaned up—and we don’t have to hide how we’re doing. So if you’re angry, it’s okay to let God know. If you feel hopeless, tell Him. If you’re losing faith in Him because it seems like He just doesn’t care, share that with Him. He would much rather hear your honest thoughts and feelings than hear nothing at all from you.
God Sees You
Our God is loving. He’s strong. He is a provider and a protector. He brings comfort to the broken and healing to the hurt. And there’s never a time when all of His goodness is made more clear than when we’re going through really bad or hard things. Whatever it is you’re facing, if you try to go it alone, it will be even harder. But if you look for Him and ask Him to stay near you, He will not fail you. Don’t lose hope, and don’t give up on Him. He won’t give up on you.
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