You can’t? God Can, Amen.
1. I WILL GIVE YOU REST (MATTHEW 11:28–30)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
To the Jews living in Jesus’ day, two constant burdens were difficult to bear: Rome and the Law of Moses. One constantly oppressed them, and the other held them to an impossible standard. Jesus offered an easier yoke and a lighter burden.
While we aren’t being oppressed by Rome, and as Christians we’re not bound to the covenant between God and Israel, Jesus still offers rest for our souls. And that’s good, because life is exhausting. Between work, school, ministry, bills, relationships, and everything else, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressures and expectations that weigh us down. Jesus doesn’t ask us to work for the things the world expects us to. When we go to him and focus on the things that matter to him, we can find rest for our souls.
While the circumstances of your life can push you to the physical, emotional, or mental breaking point, Jesus offers us an easier yoke and a lighter burden.
2. THEREFORE WE DO NOT LOSE HEART (2 CORINTHIANS 4:16–18)
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Illness, injury, and physical challenges can make us uncomfortably aware of how fragile we are. But no matter how broken we feel, God can renew us from within. Your body is not a reflection of your spirit. And if we endure hardship for Christ—for a moment, a month, or a lifetime—our trials and tribulations will be nothing in comparison to the glory we will experience when Christ returns and calls us home.
This isn’t about reducing the weight of your suffering. It’s about seeing your pain and your struggles next to the triumph of the cross and the promise of eternal life with Jesus. God gives us the strength to endure each day, and at the end of this life, he has something far greater in store for those who persevere.
3. LET PERSEVERANCE FINISH ITS WORK (JAMES 1:2–4)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When you’re hurting, it’s not very encouraging to hear someone say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But in the first century, that’s exactly what James said to the early Christians as they faced the constant threat of persecution. It wasn’t to lessen the significance of their pain and suffering but to reveal something about what happens when our faith is tested.As you endure, your capacity to endure grows. When you persevere through something hard, other experiences begin to feel easy in comparison.
With every new trial—whether that be the loss of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, a financial crisis, a struggle with sin, or something else—you have an opportunity to come out as a more mature and complete follower of Christ. Pastor Francis Chan compares this to the process of refining precious metals, which have to be melted repeatedly in order to remove impurities and produce the final product.
4. DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING (PHILIPPIANS 4:6–7)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Anxiety disorders affect almost 20 percent of the U.S. population every year. We have a lot to be anxious about. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to be anxious because the things you’re anxious about don’t matter. Rather, it offers a solution to the anxiety we experience in the moment: if you’re worried about something, bring it to God. Pray, and ask God to help you with your worry.
Notice that God isn’t just giving us “peace.” It’s the peace of God. When we bring our anxieties to God, we get to experience the same peace that God has, a peace that “transcends all understanding” and doesn’t make sense in our circumstances. God protects your heart from the worries Satan wants you to be consumed by.
5. SPUR ONE ANOTHER ON (HEBREWS 10:24–25)
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
If you’re feeling discouraged, don’t let that drive you into isolation. And when those around you are discouraged, don’t let them retreat into loneliness. At times being alone can restore us, but as part of the body of Christ, we are called to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and lift each other up. We were made for community, and a healthy church is a source of encouragement, where we love each other and inspire one another to serve others.
6. I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, FOR YOU ARE WITH ME (PSALM 23)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
A shepherd leads, protects, and cares for sheep. As our shepherd, God steers us toward things that are good, and when he is with us (which is always), we don’t have to be afraid of anything.
7. TAKE HEART! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD (JOHN 16:33)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Before Jesus was betrayed and taken to be crucified, he told his disciples what would happen in the days to come, when he would no longer be with them. He told them about the horrible things that may happen to them, but also the incredible gift that was coming to those who believed in him: the Holy Spirit, who would dwell within them. Most of all, he encouraged his disciples to continue trusting him and to remain in him (John 15:4).
In Jesus we can enjoy the gift of peace, knowing that whatever comes our way, we’re with someone who has overcome the world—and defeated death!
8. GOD CARES FOR YOU (1 PETER 5:7)
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
It’s easy to think our problems are too small and insignificant to be of any concern to God. But the reality is that the God who created the universe cares about you. So much so that he wants you to bring him your anxieties. Just as he calls us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), God takes our troubles on himself. And while our failures and challenges may be more than we feel like we can handle, God has an infinite capacity to swallow up our worry.
Through this verse, the God who created you is saying, “Why don’t you just let me worry about that?”
9. GOD WILL PROVIDE A WAY OUT (1 CORINTHIANS 10:13)
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Sin often makes us feel as though we’re alone in our struggles. Shame lets us believe we are uniquely wicked for the temptations we face in our hearts and minds. But when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth—an ancient Greek city which had a reputation for depravity—he told them their temptation was simply part of being human.
He also told them a secret about temptation: it will never be more than you can bear, and there’s always a way out.
When you’re in the middle of being tempted to sin, it can feel like it’s inevitable that you’re going to mess up. But that’s not the reality. There’s always a way out. It may not be easy. It might come with consequences. But if you look, it’s there, and you can overcome the temptation you’re facing.
10. MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU (2 CORINTHIANS 12:9–10)
“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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Throughout Scripture, God displays a pattern of demonstrating his strength when situations look most hopeless. When Gideon brought an army to fight the Midianites in Judges 7, God told him that there were too many men, so if they won the battle, no one would attribute that victory to the Lord—they’d give themselves all the credit. Through a series of steps, God brought their army of 32,000 down to 300. They won the battle handily, and God received all the glory.
Christ’s power can shine the most during our weakest moments, when we’re least able to depend on ourselves. Every moment of weakness is an opportunity for Jesus to reveal his power.