Life circumstances can leave us feeling weak and powerless, lacking the strength we need to persevere through difficult trials and doubting our trust in God. In this article, Josephine D. Rose shares 5 powerful Bible verses for strength in hard times to encourage and remind us when we are weak, He is strong!
There are many opinions on what to do when we find ourselves in hard times. Though it is an unpopular belief, we are not meant to depend on our own strength. In fact, Scripture tells us not to resist our weakness but to boast in it. The Bible’s message stands in stark contrast to the world’s.
What we frequently hear from the world speaks towards our self-sufficiency. We are offered a faulty mirror. The reflection of ourselves shines back at us through cracks and smoke. The world doesn’t tell us the truth, which we need. Instead, it appeals to our emotions, what we desire.
The problem is that broken mirrors fall short. In this case, self-sufficiency fails us when we are in hard times, but there is good news. When we take the honest mirror of God’s Word, we will see that the place we should direct our eyes for strength is not ourselves but God. Though we are needy, our God is never lacking. He gives power, His grace is sufficient, and He invites us to come to Him.
5 BIBLE VERSES FOR STRENGTH IN HARD TIMES
1. God’s Grace is Sufficient
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9).
In this passage, Paul asked God for the removal of a thorn. We are not told what the thorn was, but we know that Paul did not want it from his prayer. Instead of removing the thorn, God pointed Paul to Himself. God’s grace was sufficient for him even as he lived with what he once prayed away.
God’s grace is sufficient for every believer. It forever stands true. We often want to distance ourselves from our weaknesses. Who likes to feel weak? I personally don’t. However, in our attempt to be self-sufficient, we prevent ourselves from getting a front-row seat to the demonstration of God’s power on the platform of our lives.
While it is biblical to ask God to remove our difficult circumstances, sometimes He chooses to give the grace to withstand instead of removing the hardship. We then learn to lean on Him to be enough. When we witness God’s power on display against the backdrop of our lack of power, no question will be raised as to who should be praised for sustaining us. We will pray and give glory to God alone. In turn we will be able to say, “When I am weak, He is strong.”
2. When We Wait On God, Our Strength Will Be Revived
“Have you not known; have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; and they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
In this passage, we see an essential difference between God and ourselves. We are limited as created beings, but God is the uncreated Creator. He can give all that we need at all times. He has no limits. Praise God!
Look at Your God
When we are experiencing challenging times, it will do us good to look at our God. The most natural thing to do is panic and attempt to fix our lives in our own strength. Sometimes depression even settles in. I say this with understanding as someone who has suffered terrible bouts of depression. What would be more beneficial is lifting our eyes to our God.
We will find that He is the Everlasting Creator of all things. He does not get weak as we do, and He never gets weary. His thoughts are so much higher than ours; we can search and never come to the end of His understanding. Friend, He shares! He gives power to those who are fainting; He gives strength to those who lack power. When we are weak, He is strong. In waiting on Him, our strength will be revived.
Wait on the Lord
This verse encourages us to ‘wait’ (other translations use the word ‘trust’). For how long do we wait? I have asked myself this question many times, and you may be asking yourself this very same question. We wait and trust as long as He would have us wait, knowing that His timing is perfect.
Waiting doesn’t necessarily mean staring at the wall. We can wait as we read and love God’s Word, as we meditate on His promises with faith and expectation, and as we gather with other believers in worship. As we wait with perseverance, we find an endless store of God’s strength.
3. When God Asks, He Empowers
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
We hear this verse being prayed over the victory of sports teams. Students pray it to pass tests they may or may not have studied for. (I did this even at a private Christian college.) This verse is on mugs that grace tables of girl bosses. The context of the verse is rarely taken into consideration. When these words were penned, it included circumstances that left Paul in physical hunger and need. He had learned how to be content with whatever God gave him, both with little and much.
I included this verse on the list because the misuse of the Scripture doesn’t make it any less beautiful and true. We don’t strengthen ourselves. It is God who gives us strength in all things, even in the most burdensome of times. God is the strength, and God brings joy.
His Strength in Our Weakness
I have clung to this verse in my health difficulties. At the end of 2021, I had a speaking engagement. It was such a blessing, but 15 minutes before teaching, I laid myself on the chairs in exhaustion. Lifting my eyes, I stared at the ceiling, very much aware of my own weakness. What I had prepared for those women would not be taught in my strength. All my studying didn’t matter. I was physically weak and needed a bed. But God in His strength was enough for me.
I was able to stand up in pain and weakness and still share, not because I was strong, but because it was Him who strengthened me to do what He had called me to do for Christ’s name and for those who filled the seats in that room. Other times, I endured seizure after seizure through Him, who gave me strength.
Through Christ, you can do all things! Your God will never ask you what He will not empower you to do by His Spirit. Obedience and persisting in following Christ’s leading is always possible; It is Him who supports you.
4. God Invites Us to Hand Over Our Burdens in Prayer
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
We are to replace passive anxiety with something more active—prayer with thanksgiving. As we turn our eyes from the overwhelm of what causes concern, we turn our eyes to God in trust. We are invited to give Him all of our requests. After handing burdens over to God in prayer, He will provide peace to guard our hearts and minds.
A Call to Dependence
This passage is not calling us to be careless. We are to be responsible and good stewards over what God has given us. However, we are never to worry. Instead, we are to depend. Anxiety tends to flood us, but Christ will guard our hearts and minds with peace that exceeds our comprehension.
Paul didn’t encourage his readers to do this as he walked along a beautiful beach at sunset. Instead, he was imprisoned. Paul spoke these words from experience. He encountered the peace of God regarding his heart and mind as the Roman soldiers stood as guards before him.
Like Paul, we can entrust every difficulty to the One who loves us. We may not understand God’s ways, but we can trust His heart; It is full of wisdom and love. Be anxious about nothing and pray about everything as you rest in the goodness of your God.
5. God Always Moves in Love For His Redeemed Ones
“That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
One of the things that we often lose sight of when we are experiencing challenging moments is God’s love. It’s easy to listen to the lying whispers of our enemy, who is always eager to redefine the character of God to us. He did it with Adam and Eve. Satan tempted with questions.
If God was good, why would God keep the knowledge of good and evil from them, holding them back from becoming more like Himself? This was their temptation, and they fell for the lie.
Reject the Lies; Believe the Truth
I’ve heard the enemy whisper in my valleys, God isn’t good. Why would He allow this to go on for so long? Do you doubt Him yet? He doesn’t really love you. Sister in Christ, remember biblical truth when the enemy attempts to assault you with lies about your God.
Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be strengthened—Not with their own might, but through Christ’s Spirit that lived in them. He prayed this so that Christ would dwell in their hearts. How does Christ reside in a believer’s heart? Through faith, not by works. You don’t have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Because of His sacrifice for you, It is your freedom to lean on your Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul prayed for the Ephesian’s position: rooted and grounded in love. This is sure ground. All other ground is sinking sand, and everything else falls short. In Christ, along with all the saints, we can begin to know the fullness of His love. God always moves in love towards His redeemed ones. I encourage you to turn this passage into a prayer for yourself.
HIS STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS.
If you find yourself in a difficult time and all you see is your lack of strength and inability to keep walking, God is calling you into His power. This just might be your opportunity to see His might on display in your life. Truthfully, we are all frail and needy. But, we serve a God who is not dependent on our ability. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and He graciously and generously provides all that we need.
All you must do is bring God your lack and trust His heart toward you. Believe His promises. Wait expectantly, knowing that His Word will hold true. He is for you. Boast in your weakness, for when you are weak, He is strong.
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