High school was a time in most of our lives that was filled with ups, downs and drama due to an excess of emotion and a deficit of maturity.
One of the first times I remember the feeling of things coming apart was in high school, as I was pushed into a fight with three girls who were on my basketball team. I was trying to defend a girl who always got teased, and things definitely didn’t go the way I had planned.
Two of the girls held me in place while one of the girls punched me repeatedly in the face. She had a lot of experience fighting, and I found out quickly I was no match for her strength and speed. I remember the physical pain and also the emotional pain of feeling completely humiliated and rejected.
Although this experience felt devastating at the time, my mom was there when I got home to comfort me, and my dad was at school the next day meeting with the coach and the principal to defend me. My parents were a great support, but they couldn’t be with me at school to take away the embarrassment and shame I felt.
I tried to cover up the feelings of fear and loneliness, but they didn’t go away until after college when I started to learn how to have a close relationship with God.
I learned that by praying to God I could be closer to Him than to any other person, and I could hold on to the scriptures for hope when everything seemed to be coming apart at the seams.
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?Deuteronomy 4:7 NIV
God is close to us whenever we pray to Him, especially when nothing else is left to hold on to and no one can give us answers to our questions or solutions to our problems.
When all else fails, God never does. He will always be there to catch us when we fall, to tell us through His word that it will be okay when things feel hopeless.
We can feel like things are falling apart when we are experiencing one of these three things:
- Conflict – in the form of a fight, battle, quarrel, struggle, strife, or controversy
- Crisis – when a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval occurs in our life
- Chaos – the state of utter confusion and disorder in our life or in the world around us
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.Psalms 34:17 NIV
Psalm 34 was written by David while he was being pursued by Saul, and he had to act like he was insane so that he could escape.
David wrote many of the Psalms while things were falling apart around him, and by keeping his eyes on God rather than himself he grew strong and secure.
We can learn from David’s walk with God to see that, even if people are unfaithful, God never is. Although we may feel inadequate, God can do anything.
Here are 8 ways that we can draw close to God so that we can make it through the conflict, crisis and chaos to find comfort and courage to carry on.
Trust in God’s protection
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. 2 Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! 3 Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” 5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! 6 The Lord protects those of childlike faith…
8 He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. 9 And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! Psalms 116:1-9 NLT
David trusted in God’s protection when he was surrounded by troubles, feeling only sorrow and facing almost certain death. He trusted God because he knew God was filled with mercy and kindness and was bending down to listen closely to his plea for help.
Sometimes we can rely on our own strength to protect ourselves from being hurt in relationships and miss out on an opportunity to trust others and God. We can entrust ourselves to God’s care by forgiving past hurts rather than holding onto resentments and holding back our hearts from building relationships.
When we decide to share vulnerably with others, God promises to protect us and guard us.
- Decide to start praying about any relationship that has been “coming apart” so that you can let go of resentments and resolve to build again.
Depend on God’s power
They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts. 5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. 7 My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge…11 God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; Psalm 62:4-8, 11 NLT
When David faced conflicts, criticism and betrayal, he poured out his heart to God in prayer and depended on God’s power rather than his own.
He realized that true power belongs only to God and that we cannot control people or circumstances. God wants to hear everything that is in our heart.
As we pour out the pain, anger and worry, He can fill us with comfort, hope and courage.
Tell everyone about God’s power. His majesty shines down on Israel; his strength is mighty in the heavens. 35 God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!Psalm 68:34-35 NLT
God’s power gives us the courage to face conflicts with faith and forgiveness.
The power we receive from God can help us to persevere through emotional and physical pain and to try again when we feel like giving up.
Pause and reflect
- What challenges are you currently facing that you can pour out to God so He can show you His power and give you strength?
Rely on God’s provisions
The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. 2 He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears…
5 You spread out a table before me, provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies; You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil, filling my cup again and again with Your grace.
6 Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me where I go, always, everywhere. I will always be with the Eternal, in Your house forever.Psalm 23:1-2, 5-6 Voice
In Psalm 23, David writes about His reliance on God to provide for his needs of rest, refreshment and renewal.
He sees God as a loving shepherd and himself as a sheep who is often defenseless and in need of protection and provisions. Even in the middle of an attack, David was able to meet his needs through God and what He provided.
Often when I feel like things are falling apart and my need for security and fulfillment are going unmet, I decide to work harder, faster and longer. But relying on myself only seems to leave me more tired and more afraid.
One of the ways God has provided for my needs of encouragement and contentment is through spiritual friendships. Friends help us gain faith, perspective and gratitude.
- Set aside part of your prayer time each day to thank God for the specific ways He has provided for you and met your needs.
Wait for God’s plans
You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. 3 You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. 4 Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it…
15 You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, 16 you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for mel were written in your book before I was one day old.Psalm 139:2-4, 15-16 NCV
According to the Bible, God is omniscient, meaning he has complete, unlimited knowledge and an awareness and understanding of all things.
He sees the future and knows that, if we wait patiently and faithfully, He will work out all circumstances and situations in our lives for something good.
It is comforting to know that when life feels crazy and chaotic, God has planned out our future and is working for our good.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV
One of the hardest times in my life was when I was getting treatments for infertility and ended up having an ectopic pregnancy. This was the only time I got pregnant, and it ended in a miscarriage. I felt as if my hopes and dreams were crumbling around me, and I was experiencing intense physical and emotional pain.
Although this time in my life was one of the most challenging, it was also a time that I felt very close to God.
As I prayed through the discouragement and disappointment, I was reminded through the scriptures that God had planned out my days, and He was working to give me a lasting hope and a great future with Him.
I decided to stop trying to control my circumstances and wait for God’s plan to unfold. God faithfully answered our prayers for a family, and we were able to adopt two amazing girls.
Pause and reflect
- What plans do you feel are coming apart in your life, and what scriptures can you hold on to as you wait for God’s plan to unfold?
Focus on God’s perfection
God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. 31 For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock…
35 You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. 36 You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.Psalm 18:30-36 NLT
God doesn’t make mistakes, and everything He does is perfectly planned and executed.
Sometimes it feels like things are coming apart because we can’t keep up with the demands and expectations in our life due to our limitations. We can also feel like life is falling apart because we have been hurt or disappointed by people in our life.
It’s important to remember in these times that God is never limited or incapable of bringing about victory.
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?Numbers 23:19 NIV
God does not have human sins or weaknesses, and he doesn’t make empty promises. He doesn’t change His mind indiscriminately or forget to respond to our request for help.
We can focus on God’s perfection by studying the Bible to search for His truth and learn about His qualities and character. When we focus on God’s perfection, we can be confident on the inside that God will work out our circumstances for good even if things are coming apart on the outside.
Hold on to God’s promises
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. 9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!
10 I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. 11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid What can mere mortals do to me? 12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
13 For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.Psalm 56:8-13 NLT
David was in imminent danger during the time in his life when he wrote this Psalm.
His prayer shows us that if we hold on to God’s promises, we can still be grateful and confident, knowing that God is on our side. Because David believed that God cared enough to keep track of his sorrows, He would also keep His word to guard and protect him.
Many years ago, I found out that my ex-husband had been unfaithful to me and had been lying about it for years. After trying to reconcile, it became clear that he was not interested in following God or staying together.
There were many tearful days and fearful nights as I felt like I had nothing in my life to hold on to except God and His promises to take care of me.
This chapter of Psalms brought me comfort and hope as I learned that God was aware of every tear, promising to bring healing and hope. This time provided an opportunity for me to grow close to God as I held on to His love for me.
God used friends in my life to help me get through a divorce, to forgive, and to grow to eventually start a new relationship.
It wasn’t until I was married again that I learned my husband had been baptized in another state on the same day that I had started my divorce paperwork. Now we are about to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary this year, and I can say God has been faithful to all of His promises.
- Make a decision to pray through one of God’s promises daily so that you can let go of your worries and hold on to faith.
Believe in God’s providence
We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. 2 God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. 3 When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.
4 “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists… 7 It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall…
9 But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 10 For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.”Psalm 75:1-10 NLT
Even if we are not experiencing personal conflict or crisis, we can still feel afraid from the chaos around us.
We are living in turbulent times with uncertainty in our political and economic systems. We are also experiencing social unrest and the damaging effects of a global pandemic. It is important to remember that God is near during these times, and we can also look to Him for help.
Providence is defined as divine care, direction with knowledge and understanding of the future. God is in control and, when we believe in His providence, we can be reassured even during difficult times.
Psalm 75 reminds us that God will bring justice, judge the wicked and make the decisions of who will rise and fall.
Pause and reflect
- What scriptures and stories in the Bible give you faith that God is in control and is guiding and caring for you?
Search for God’s purposes
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. 2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.Psalm 57:1-2 NLT
God has a purpose for our lives and even the most difficult experiences can be shared with others.
When we reflect with gratitude on how God has rescued us and encouraged us, we can be confident that he will also fulfill his purpose for us.
Ultimately, God’s purpose for each of us is to use our unique life experiences to share about Him and our relationship with Him so others can have hope.
God wants everyone to be saved and to fully understand the truth.1 Timothy 2:4 ERV
God wants everyone to understand the truth about who He is, how much He cares, and what He can do in our lives. His desire is for us to show others his heart for us and his power to hold our lives and our relationships together when they are coming apart.
The crisis, conflict, and chaos in my own life has helped me to grow in my reliance on God and to help many people make the decision to trust in Him. Through this, I’ve learned how to stay close to God at all times, even when things feel hopeless.
Pause and reflect
- Who can you share with about the ways God has provided for you or protected you through a difficult time?
- What challenges have you faced that can serve as an opportunity to help someone else persevere?