Why do I feel this way? (Wisdom for when life is unbearably hard)

by Jacqueline Bingham

Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.



Through tears I said to my husband, ‘I don’t know the last time life wasn’t hard.’ Over the course of a year I had lost my mother to cancer and the job I’d relocated for had imploded. These serious events had caused ripples throughout the rest of my life.

Losing Mum made me reevaluate my priorities. Everything now went through the ‘time is limited’ filter. Her passing was a catalyst to realising I wasn’t happy. I felt an urgency to change things and live fully. My dreams couldn’t wait any longer and I knew things needed to be done, and soon.

The stress showed up in my body as my raging anxiety triggered panic attacks and sickness. As I tried to cope, God’s voice became like a whisper in the thunderstorm of circumstances.

My career was severely damaged by an allegation that attacked my reputation, and I spent a year working to prove my innocence. However I received no apology or vindication and I ended up walking away from a career I had dedicated over 9 years to. That experience left me with severe trust issues, believing no one could understand the hurt and betrayal I felt.

Feelings are real, but they aren’t final

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 tells us we are ‘earthen vessels,’ containing a treasure which is undeniably of God and not of flesh. Within each of us is something that can bring calm to chaos. It reads;

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (NKJV)

When I first read this scripture I was not put at ease. In fact, all I felt was guilt, because the ‘yet not’ did not feel true for me. I felt hard pressed and crushed, I felt perplexed and in despair. I felt persecuted and forsaken. I felt struck down and destroyed. And I couldn’t change the way I was feeling. I felt like a terrible Christian. I felt worthless, and then ungrateful because Jesus had given His life for me. I couldn’t feel appropriately. It made me mad because my emotions wouldn’t come under God’s word, no matter how much I tried.

I would ask all the time “Why do I feel these things when I shouldn’t? I am one of God’s people! I should be able to do better.” Thanks to God, I discovered that where I was and how I felt was not the end of the story.

God is with me through the storm

When I prayed I told Jesus I believed He had wasted His sacrifice on me and that I wasn’t worth His time. That was how I saw things. But the moment those words left my mouth, I sensed Jesus’ deep grief that I would think that. His voice was no longer an inaudible whisper. He said, ‘Don’t you know?’

Jesus didn’t leave my side even though all I could see around me was destruction. Jesus held His ground while the storm raged. It was as though a bit of space had been carved out just for us. In that space it became a little easier to breathe, a little easier to relax, a little easier to fall into His arms and a little easier to feel safe. He continuously tried to connect even though I couldn’t hear Him for a time. He gave me grace when anger took over which released the pressure of having to be a perfect Christian.

What I failed to recognise was that Jesus never considered His sacrifice on the cross for me a waste, and He feels the exact same way about all of us. He loves us. Jesus used these events that caused chaos and pain to remind me what I was made of.

Without my trials I wouldn’t be where I am today or had my, ‘But God,’ revelation. We may feel that things are closing in around us but God will be our refuge and our protector. We may feel confused, angry and bewildered with people and life but God will rescue and restore. We may be persecuted and feel alone but God can come and hold us in our greatest disappointments.

If I hadn’t kept reading, kept praying and kept pursuing God I wouldn’t have remembered all the things He had already done for me. By keeping God in front of me I went on to start a business encouraging and supporting others as well as becoming a children's author. It wasn’t always easy, but each time something came up—a bill or issue—God showed my family and I how to adapt.

It took time to heal and it was not a quick fix. Taking it day by day, God helped me see my potential and guided me through stepping out in faith into the things that had just been dreams. The experience proved to me that no matter how many storms would come my way He will help me overcome them, because my circumstances are not the end of my story.




Jacqueline Bingham is from Northern Ireland and the founder of The Encouragers Life and aims to encourage others.  You can find out more at www.theencouragerslife.com.