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When Life Is Hard

Why does life have to be so hard?

God has the answer! He hasn't abandoned you. He is right there, wanting to help you, direct you, sustain you. He is in your trial right now and He can use it to accomplish great things.

Many stories have been posted here to encourage you through whatever you may be going through right now. After you read them, share your story with us of how God has been there through your trials. Whether you are smack in the middle of it or feeling like you are at the end of the trial, share your story of God's sustaining power, it would be such an encouragement to others.

Find God's purpose in your pain and don't let bitterness, unbelief or discouragement rob you of the treasure God is refining in you.

Your Story

God at Work

Karen Witt

A Fresh Outlook


My husband was unjustly fired on November 9th from a job that didn't pay well to begin with. I work as a self-employed housekeeper and I don't make much money at this. It's more like a cleaning ministry. Read More

Our Christmas was ruined - and then my ex-husband became unable to pay child support. Needless to say I felt angry and frustrated, then I heard Pastor MacDonald bring me to task with this attitude with his When Life is Hard sermons. I didn't realize how I had been refusing God's will for me and was fighting against Him. These sermons have woken me up to this fact so I could repent. It's given me a fresh outlook on life and I now have more hope for my future and a deeper understanding of my trials and why they happen.

Searching for a Way


About a year and half ago I lost my business and my wife was working part time and going to college to try and get a better job. After I lost the business, the only place I could find a job was five hours away from my family. I have been mega-commuting for a year and half. Read More

My wife has recently quit her part time job to come out where I am and is looking for a job. In the mean time we can't seem to make the bills and are sinking deeper into debt because we have a house that we can't sell. God has been taking care of us by providing a very nice inexpesive place to live right now but that is about to be sold. We are struggling, wondering what to do with a mortgage in one place, lots of debt - mostly from the business - and having to pay rent where we are now. Please pray for us that our GREAT Provider will show us the way.

Job Loss


On May 27, 2008 I was let go from my job. For ten months, 289 days I diligently looked for work. I did some part time work to help pay bills but it was only a filler. During my job search, I once again dove deep into the Word and I discovered passages that the Lord used to renew myself in Him on a daily basis. Read More

I learned so many things about myself that the Lord wanted to correct in me so that I would look more like Him, think more like Him and act more like Him. Humanly it was a terrible thing to go through but spiritually it was growing me closer to the Lord. I learned to give Him my burdens and cast my anxieties on Him through passages like 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:6-7. Isaiah 43:1-5 helped restore my strength to keep going. He used passages like these to restore my hope in Him, which led to assurance that He was in control. I found myself reading the Word and inserting my name into it to personalize the passages.

Although I would not choose to go through that experience again, I would not replace it because I learned how much God loves me at a deeper level and only by daily pouring into His Word. This job loss brought me to deeper level of faith, trust and hope in Him.

When I couldn't see His hand I trusted His heart. I knew that He loved me and had the best in mind for me and I love Him more for it.

Deeply Grateful


My husband and I have been unemployed since May of 2009. We have been surviving on our 401K money and unemployment. I was invited to a Bible study in September of 2009 and it was life changing. Read More

The first study was James MacDonald's Lord Change My Attitude followed by Downpour. The Why Trials book and MP3 series caught my attention and I have spent time listening to it over and over.

I was a daily drinker and I was losing hope that we would be able to keep our house. We are still in this trial but I now have faith that God will provide. I no longer drink or have the desire. I believe in God's will for our future and I am just here to do His will in my life.

I am deeply grateful for the teachings of James MacDonald and my family is grateful too. God has provided me with peace and joy in a time when there isn't a worldly answer.

The Answer


The day I heard pastor James say that God allows all things for our good, even the bad ones, I froze in my tracks and knew I'd just heard the answer to WHY I had gone through the most difficult trial of my life. Read More

I had been a successful CEO, married with four kids, seemingly having it all, then everything crashed around us. Suffice it to say when I lost my job in April, we had about $4,000 to our names and no idea how on earth we were going to put food on the table, pay bills etc. All of our money was gone. Two homes, under water by 30-50%, in foreclosure, all equity gone. Stocks all sold to pay for expenses and then a business I started with two partners stolen from under my feet.

I was 45 years old and not knowing what was going to happen the next week. I sent resumes everywhere and got no positive offers, responses or anything. Then finally a job offer came! I started the job and one day later the company pulled the offer.

I had "pretended" to be a Christian for years, but FINALLY He drove me to my knees in great humility. I said the most heartfelt and simple prayer..."Lord, HELP." I lay on my belly, on the floor in my study, face on the carpet. I asked Him to take my life, take my heart and do with me and us whatever He wanted. It was four months without a job, but somehow, through small miracle after small miracle, the Lord provided. We would find money in pockets, checks would arrive in the mail and we made it through. Now I am working again and every day my prayer is the same. Jesus, let me bring Glory to Your Name.


God at Work

Cho Family

His Grace is Sufficient


My father was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma in December 2011. It rocked our world. I had a strong walk with the Lord and for the first time in years, I found that I could take in His Word but I couldn't pray. Read More

I was struggling with God because I knew He might choose to call him home and I didn't want to lose my dad. After a couple of months I realized I had to get a grip spiritually. That's when I found the book When Life Is Hard and what God did in me through this book, I will be forever grateful.

I began to journal my prayers again and what God was teaching me. It was the toughest trial of my life, but God was so close, I could feel His breath. 2 Corinthians 12:9 carried me all the way. My mother and I went through the book twice during dads cancer journey.

Dad lost his battle with cancer this past February but I praise God and give Him all the glory for everything He did during that time. James, you are right, He is never closer to us than in the midst of a trial. He is close to the broken hearted. Dad is with the Lord and we can rejoice! Thank you for writing this book and sharing all you learned through one of your most difficult trials.

Submission and Endurance


I am a mom of three beautiful children. Our youngest child was born a healthy girl. At age 5, she was diagnosed with a horrible, debilitating disease. Her future was going to experience deafness, blindness, muscle weakness, seizures,delusions, hallicuations and very poor prognosis. Read More

No cure. I was the carrier of this disease. I cared for her through many hospitalizations,diagnostic tests and trips to the Cleveland Clinic. Her physical, spiritual,and emotional needs were on my shoulders. I watched the progression of this disease until her death, June 2011, at age 16.

My husband and I laid with her as she took her last breath in our home. Submission and endurance are words easily typed now, but were very difficult to live. I turned to God and Walk In the Word daily for strength. Thank you for your ministry. God is looking at my daughter right now. She is healthy and beautiful. I wait patiently to see her again.

Strength to Endure


My husband and I live in El Paso TX. On August 19th my husband was admitted in the hospital diagnosed with Bacterial Endocarditis. He had just turned 40 and it was his first time in a hospital. Three days later we get the shocking news his aortic valve was completely damaged due to an infection that went to his blood stream and directly to his heart. Next thing we were told was, "you need open heart surgery to replace your valve with a mechanical one" Read More

Fear, anxiety, and doubt just came up on us like a category five hurricane! So many questions and the sensation of "this is a dream! It's not happening" was just overwhelming! Our friend and counseling Pastor gave us this wonderful book that gave me so much hope and strength to endure this situation.

Today, August 26th, my husband is recuperating from the surgery. God blessed us with an amazing surgeon. He operated through a three inch opening and replaced the valve. The scar will almost be invisible!! And best part of all, the surgeon gave ALL the glory to our King!! Thank you for this opportunity to share our story!!!

The Hand of God is Upon Us


I met the Lord when I was 13. Isaiah 6:8 captured my heart "Here am I Send Me". This has been my prayer since. At the age of 25 I had my first son; born 12 weeks early he was only 1lb. He was diagnosed with a severe case of cerebral palsy. Read More

That was 11 years ago, since then I have had two little girls, also preemies. Our lives have been full of hospitals, surgeries, tears, therapies, sleepless nights and very long days. One scripture that God gave to me was Psalm 27:13. My husband and I decided that these trials were either going to make us or break us and we decided together, they were going to make us.

We are still in the trials very much so and although we are exhausted and sometimes frustrated we know the hand of God is upon us, molding us and making us. God is getting ready to "send me" just as I prayed years ago and still pray. Underneath the tears, the black circles around our eyes and the calendar full of appointments, there is an excitement and an expectation to see what God is doing in us and through us. We have joy and peace even when life is hard.

Thank you for your book, your openness and time. As I read When Life is Hard I feel like we have a true friend and companion in our trials. Our son is 11 now and is 100% dependent on us. God has showed us so much love through him that we wouldn't have it any other way. I too want to write a book someday, God willing.

On the Journey


I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 44, in April 2007 and completed chemo and radiation. I experienced a peace from the Lord like I never knew. Read More

During treatment I was challenged with some of the common side effects (e.g. numbness in finger tips & toes, loss of hair etc.) along with developing congestive heart failure. I was in remission for one year and four months then was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer in October 2009; now I'm battling new side effects — but God is still good!

Currently, I am undergoing chemo again and I had not allowed myself to get still before the Lord until I recently purchased When Life is Hard. Only God and I knew where I was at - doing the silent search within myself in wanting to know my true purpose - how I could serve Him but uncertain if I was ready to hear and/or see what He would reveal to me.

Well, I had not read past Chapter 1 before the Lord touched my heart and the tears began to flow, as God let me know He hears my cry and that He loves me. I'm truly grateful for this book, which I'm still reading, and I'm excited to see where the Lord is taking me. God bless you for sharing your journey and helping me to focus on specific scriptures that have ministered to my heart.

No Longer Living for Me


I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in November 2001 and began chemo and radiation 14 months later, right after I retired. Treatment worked for less than a year and the doctors suggested I try to qualify for a stem cell transplant at Stanford. After six months of testing and preparation I had that transplant (one of my near-death experiences!). One year later I was diagnosed with a second primary cancer, myelodisplasia, another blood borne cancer and I was given only months to live. Read More

Since that time I have drawn closer to God and I have had to rely on Him for my physical and spiritual strength and energy. It is clear to me that I am not alive for my own entertainment and enjoyment but rather to serve others and do for others who cannot do for themselves. I find that now when I hear of someone who has just received a negative diagnosis I email or visit as soon as I am allowed, to encourage or just to listen.

Next month I am going to facilitate a class at church covering Pastor MacDonald's book When Life is Hard. The Bible says lots of encouraging things about how to deal with hardships and this book covers it very well. When I was first diagnosed almost ten years ago I heard a man say that those who are struck with serious hardships are the lucky ones. I thought he was off his rocker. Now I know what he meant. I am no longer living for me, but for Him and His kingdom. Thank you Jesus!


God at Work

Cody and Lina Wass

God' Getting You to a Better Place


It is amazing how near God feels when you are in the midst of a trial! I am still in a trial, more or less. Read More

Last year I met a girl who I thought was a believer. After considerable thought and prayer, I thought she was the one God had more me; and so after courting her, I asked her to marry me in November of last year. In January of this year my mom, my fiance, and I were sitting down discussing possible color schemes and her likes and dislikes to use for the wedding and reception; when one honest question from my mom, God used to open a crack into the soul of my fiance. Inside of her she was harboring anger, resentment against people she didn't even know, fears, insecurities, and most horrifying of all, I saw an utter darkness in her. I was so taken aback at what I saw, I didn't know how to respond. So, I immediately went to God's word for the answers.

The next day, I told her about what I saw in her, and spoke the truth in love to her. We then began a study which involved a self examination to help point out our weaknesses and sinful attitudes and how we should relinquish all of our sin to Christ. And for the next six weeks I spent countless hours studying the scriptures looking for the truth to share with her. Each day brought more truth and encouragement to keep going to try and show her that she needed to surrender her sin to Christ and make Him Lord of her life. Only then could she be set free.

I finally came to the place where God showed me I could not go any further. There was a spiritual line which I would not cross. I had begun to lose parts of myself, I was losing my joy. She was enslaved to her own sin, even though she professed to being a believer; and she was beginning to drag me down with her. But if that was true, if she was free from sin and made alive in Christ, where was her fruit? I saw very little fruit if at all. She was still choosing to remain in darkness. "Choose to sin, choose to suffer." As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" So with that knowledge in mind, that light cannot fellowship with darkness, I made the decision to break off my engagement with her.

It has only been a week now, and though I still have a ways to go, your book entitled When Life Is Hard has been a constant source of encouragement to me. One phrase from the book that continues to encourage me to remain in this trial that God has me in is, "This trial is working together for your good. As tough as the hard place your are at is, God is getting you to a better place. You have to hold on to that. God knows where to bull's-eye is and He's aiming for it."

I was Bought and Paid For


God has worked in my life during a trial by never leaving me or forsaking me. He showed me he could keep a promise. He does not lie. I do not want to imagine my life without him. I would have died of a broken heart many years ago. Read More

I have never in my entire life have been loved by another human being in a healthy way. My father a physically abusive, sexually abusive, and verbally abusive lost and broken man.

I lived to protect my mother. I loved her so much. I would wake to hear him screaming at her, beating her, my sisters would hide. I a tiny child, would run to her, jump on my fathers back and run interference until he set her free. My mother would leave me and hide, while he beat me. The next day I would be remprimanded by my mother for being naughty. My father would banish me to my room and my sisters were ordered to have nothing to do with me. I would be grief stricken sobbing, beleiving something was wrong with me. My little sister who was three or four..was my little angel. I was lying on the floor sobbing my heart out..lonely and broken. She snuck into my room crawled under the bed and poked he little face out, and said "I still love you." I will never forget that.

My mother sent us to free vacation bible camp at the Baptist Church on year and I would sing "Jesus loves me this I know" whenever I was sad.

When I was fourteen, I started going to church with a friend; they kept talking about born again.. I asked her and her mother what that meant. They told me God loves me. I could not believe that anybody would love me. I asked if she was sure. I could not believe it, I was so happy someone loved me.

I prayed every day that my dad would stop hurting us but he never did. I later moved out and saw how broken and lost to sin he was. He did quit drinking and I witnessed to him on his death bed. I praise God everyday that he accepted Jesus before he died.

I have spent my life trying to be good enough. Now I surrender to God because He loves me. He chose me for his very own. He promised to bind up my wounds. To forgive me for all my sins and make me as clean as freshly fallen snow. For his name's sake, I live and will honor him. I was bought and paid for. I cling to Father God who has promised me a life more abundant and free. Every wound I have received that brought harm to me God will use for good purposes. For my good and His glory.

Lean on God


My husband after 31 years of marriage has filed for divorce. He told me he wasn't in love with me anymore. I thought we had a great marriage. This was the last thing I ever thought would happen. I thought my world was coming to an end. Read More

I have had long and hard conversations with God. My husband has always been my best friend we have been together since I was 16 years old and he was 17, we dated for two years then got married.

I told God I couldn't live without my husband, my whole world was him, but God has been showing me that I need to learn that God needs to be my whole world. This has been one of the hardest years and also the most learning year I have ever had.

I love my husband more now than I did before and that is only through God. Your program had been such a help to me. It has really gotten me to think and understand more of why I am going through this trial. I know now that God is there to help me through it and He will be with me through the court hearing that will be coming up in the next couple months or so. I have learned not to lean on man so much but to lean on God.

Never Give Up


My husband and I have struggled to raise a disobedient child for the last ten years. In our discouragement and exhaustion, we so often wonder what God is doing. Read More

But despite how we may feel at any given time, we try to hold on to the truth; God is in control and He has a plan for us and for our son. God has put us through a lot. But through it all our faith and our trust in Him has grown.

After two years of unemployment, my son proved that he can be trusted. We all must get to the point where we must believe that God loves us and that any trial that comes, whether it be short or long, He has only good in store for us at the end of the trial. Never give up! He never will.

Standing on His Promises


When God allows you to be crushed, can you still trust Him? I was raised in a Christian home. My mom and dad were fruitful believers active in their church, Dad was 86, Mom 84. I had my ticket to California to help my sibs move them into assisted living. Dad, with onset of dementia and effects of seizure medication, began to feel stressed about the move. Read More

On January 2 he took my mother's life and then his own. How could God let this happen to this faithful couple...to us? Job 11 says, "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens-what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave-what can you know?"

This space cannot begin to hold all that God has done for me. I can tell you God is good and He is present. It has been more painful than I can describe, but as Jesus "endured the cross for the joy set before him", I am enduring in His strength for that same joy. I have be en entrusted to "share in His sufferings". God has stepped out of the safe box I had Him in, and has become bigger, more mysterious, more powerful and more trustworthy than I ever knew before. He has given me scripture, songs (Not For a Moment by Meredith Andrews), dreams, circumstances, people and sermons (When Life is Hard by James MacDonald) perfectly timed when I cry out to Him.

Two weeks before this my son, who I homeschooled, put through Christian high school and poured the love of God into, informed me that he was turning his back on God and us to live a sinful and worldly lifestyle. Again, why God? I thought I had done everything you required.

I am learning that there is only one thing that God requires...that I trust Him. So I am standing on the promises, loving Him, singing, eyes and ears wide open to see His glory and presenting myself as a living sacrifice for Him to use however and whenever He wants. I know His eyes are on me. He weeps for me. He sings over me. He holds me. He answers me when I call out. One day He will take me, and I am trusting,my loved ones to be with Him in glory. I want to hear Him say, "Well done".

He's Healing My Family


My family is going through so much... I have been listening to James MacDonald's series When Life is Hard on WAY Radio. All the while I was thinking this is a trial but when I really dug deep into the Word of God and listened to Pastor James' messages I realize it is not a trial, but consequences of a chain of decisions outside of Gods will - SIN! Read More

This situation is greatly impacting my oldest son and the consequences may cause him to lose his 11 month old son to a lost mother who does not want the baby.

All of this strife has brought my son and I back to the Lord that we love. We are helping each other every day as we dig into the Word to find out what God wants to do with us in all of this. I could go on and on about my broken family going all the way back to my grandparents. I now see what our Lord Jesus wants for us all and I believe He is healing my family through all that we are going through now. I do not know how or when, but my son and I are claiming the Lord's promise that He will hold us up and give us strength and wisdom as we walk through this with Him. Our Lord promises His never-failing love even in our darkest hour. Matthew 11:25-30 - We will allow Christ to set our direction, the pace and the goal. Pray for us!

Drawing Closer


My husband and I were married for over 23 years. A little over three months ago my husband came home and told me that he was leaving and divorcing me. Read More

This situation was a total shock - it was very hard at first. But God has been with me and I have drawn so much closer to the Lord. I ordered Pastor James's CD on When Life is Hard and it has been a real help.

At the Foot of the Cross


My wife and I have had a lot of trials and hardships over the course of our courting and marriage - Surgeries needed to fix me from being hit by a car. We were blessed with a little girl who is a bright, vibrant, and energetic three year old. Shortly after her birth, we found out that we were going to have another child, we were so excited. Read More

When we went to do the ultrasound to find out what it was, we were met with exciting news, it was going to be a boy, our first son. Again, a cause for great joy. But it was also accompanied by news that they needed to do more tests on (my wife) Ashley and the baby because there were things that they were seeing that they needed to look into further. After more tests and closer looks, they had determined that our son (Kaiden) may have a genetic disorder. I remember Ashley and I crying, praying, and holding one another along with our daughter. We prayed and we had our church lay hands on Ashley routinely, and the specialists were always insistent on us aborting our child. We, however, were resolute in the belief that life starts with God, and we put our faith in Him - Ashley said that she would carry Kaiden for as long as God gave him to us.

The next six months flew by, and we sat and spent time with Kaiden inside Ashley as much as we could, we sang songs to him, we prayed for him, our daughter slept next to mommy's tummy to be next to her little brother. (Which was extremely remarkable because by this time she was only about a year old. But she knew that she had a brother and she knew that there was something that was off that she couldn't quite understand.)

Then the night came. About six weeks before the due date, God deemed Kaiden Joshua to come, and everything happened so quickly and quietly (as was Kaiden's personality) but he was not strong enough to make it through the labor process. He ended up being an emergency C-section. and the doctors tried so hard to do everything they could to save him, but in the end Kaiden was stillborn. It completely turned my world, my life upside down and inside out. My son was here and then gone in the twinkling of an eye.

Ashley and I later found out that He had a rare genetic defect that makes it very hard to live outside of the womb. and he had passed before the doctors could get him out. Ashley and I were grieved by this loss. Ashley in the way that only a mother can know and feel, and me as a father from the loss of a child, and from a husband, watching the impact on my wife and not being able to help ease the pain she was experiencing. Our pastor, and other members of the church had come by to see us, and pray, and hold us. The hospital was soo nice to Ashley as well as me. When they weighed Kaiden, they put a warm blanket between Kaiden's body and the scales which comforted us greatly. The hospital staff took the same level and amount of care with Kaiden that they would have for a live newborn.

A week later we buried him in the children's section of the cemetary we had picked out. Comfortingly enough, during the burial and ceremony, and the week that followed, it rained hard, and it rained long. I placed my son's body in it final resting place, and I as well as Kaiden's uncle placed dirt over him with a profound sense of loss and grief.

It has been two years since we laid our son to rest, there are days where it is easier and there are days where it is harder. We have pictures of him in a frame from the hospital. Ashley has a silver heart with his name engraved on it, that she wears around her neck. I had two sets of dog tags made (because I was in the Marine corps). I placed one set one with my name, and information, and one with his with him, and I keep the other.

All through this hardship, Ashley and I feel God's presence, and peace. We have never felt anger or resentment towards God. We don't understand why things had to happen the way that they did, but we trust in Him, and we trust He knows what He is doing. I have never sought to ask God for an explanation in my flesh, I know that would create a seed of resentment. Kaiden and everything surrounding him is where it rightly belongs, at the foot of the cross.

We have been trying for a while now to have another child and we have not met with success yet. Please be in prayer with us waiting on His timing.

Things are Getting Better


Finding this message series has been God working in the midst of our trial. We spent four years working as full-time missionaries in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky at a Christian boarding school, Oneida Baptist Institute. Read More

We felt that God was leading us back home to Alabama to help care for our parents and that it would be better for our children (ages 19 & 17). I got a job laid in my lap at the local county board of education. I work with some of the most amazing people!

The trial has come in with my husband not finding full-time employment and our daughter (17) going through depression because she did not want to leave KY (she didn't want to go to KY in the first place either) then developing migraines. Sometimes it has felt like we followed God into a valley and He was nowhere around. Things are getting better - not all the circumstances but our attitudes toward them.

Our daughter is still having battles with depression and the migraines are not really getting better. My husband is still without full-time employement but we got an encouraging word today - he has a job interview on March 7th at the local community college. We are praising God and continuing to pray without ceasing!! Now we just need wisdom in dealing with our daughter that we know what direction to take medically and also that she cannot play us as it feels she has done some of this time. We are weary in the struggle but determined to learn and move forward. Thank you for listening to my story. I praise God for your ministry!!

God is On Our Side


We lost our ten year old son in a four-wheeler accident this fall, and God has NOT left our side! I could go on and on with our story, but long-story short: through this pain, and because of the life for Jesus our son lived and still does, so many of our family members have given their life to Christ! Read More

Hallelujah! God DOES NOT allow things to happen simply, just to happen. There is a purpose, a plan, far greater than what we could ever imagine, and He honors us and anyone else who puts their complete faith in Him. One day, it will all be revealed. Until then, when we believers go through trials, we must let others see the Light of Jesus! Remember all of God's promises to us - He is faithful and true!

Renewed Relationship


Just over a year ago my son and daughter-in-law slammed the door on my relationship with them and my precious newborn first grandchild. Any attempt to communicate with them was met with silence or threats of a restraining order. I was as close to "going under" as I've ever been in my life. Read More

During that time I studied James MacDonald's tapes on God's promises. I learned by experience to cling to God and know He loved me and would never let go of me. I gave my son and daughter-in-law and the relationship up to God. That gave me stability even though the pain was always there. I made a choice to cling to God even if I never saw my son again.

Then out of nowhere they began communicating again. We "talked" by email for several weeks and worked out all the things that were issues standing between us. One year almost to the day they were coming down my driveway for hugs and a renewed relationship. I'll never again doubt that God is with me and for me...not because of the renewed relationship but because of how He held me during the worst of times.

Seeking God


My husband and I have been married for twelve years. We married young and I thought he was a believer. A few years in the marriage I realized he was not. Since then, I and faithful church members have been praying for his salvation. Read More

He drank on and off for several years. The last five years you could classify him as an alcoholic. I stayed in the Word and after working though an Esther Bible study I was determined that I was going to seek God's direction daily. Seeking God's direction took me in different directions that I would not have chosen but it was all for good.

Last July the drinking was getting worse and I was worried for his health and for my children and what it was doing to them. I got down on my knees face on the floor and cried out to Jesus and asked Him for His help and for a mighty work that can only come from God. I called my dear sweet accountability partner and best friend - I was ready to pack up the kids and go. My best friend told me to just be still and know that God is in control. We both prayed. That was on a Monday. That Thursday he went to AA for the first time, Friday he said He was coming to church with us for the first time in years. That Sunday he really started seeking God. The following month my husband got saved! He is now almost five months sober. God is molding both of us and has given us a new marriage. God's timing is perfect. God is so good!



My whole life I grew up with a loving, caring and adoring Dad. Six months ago he introduced me and my husband to his new girlfriend. Two months after that he was stabbed defending her in an incident he would have never been involved in before he met her. Since then he has cursed me out and turned his back on me and my family. He no longer speaks for himself but allows this new woman to say whatever she wants - truth or lies - and very harsh/cruel words and statements. Telling the rest of my family lies about how things happened to validate their bad behavior. He has allowed her to destroy our family. Read More

I never would have thought with the loving and close relationship we had that he would ever treat us like this. I picked up this book, When Life is Hard, on my mother-in-law's coffee table and her husband purchased a copy for me knowing how valuable these lessons are. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me understand that although this hurts and I wish it were different - God has His own plans for me. He loves me and only wants to perfect me. I was more devoted to the wonderful dad I thought I had and I was neglecting the loving husband the Lord has blessed me with. I have learned how to be patient and truly give a situation to God. Thank You for this book and this website.



I am 37-years-old and currently going through a divorce with my wife of 14 years. She has told me that she is no longer in love with me and is not willing to try anymore. We have had a lot of ups and downs in the last few years, including the death of my father and impending death of my mother as well as numerous mistakes that we made financially. We have been through some Christian based counseling but she has "made her decision" and we have been separated for several weeks. Read More

At the beginning of this storm, I was fortunate to see Dr. MacDonald at the Moody Men's Conference and purchased this book, When Life is Hard. I have been reading it, and through that God revealed to me that what is happening is a consequence of very selfish behaviors and an inability to get help for things that were hurting me inside. My wife always asked me to put her first and I rarely did. I selfishly didn't make enough quality time with her as I should have as a husband.

I read today that "my marriage is in trouble after many years of neglect" (p155) and that a thief is "anyone who loses his marriage for stealing selfish interests" (p156). I haven't been able to stop crying because He revealed to me why this is happening. I keep begging Him for forgiveness for neglecting my wife and truly see what I've done to ruin my marriage. I am truly thankful that God has revealed the truth to me. I will continue to ask for forgiveness and pray that somehow my marriage can be restored even though it looks bleak. Thank you Jesus...


God at Work

Alex Callaway

I am Grateful


I was repeatedly abused in various ways as a kid, and the thought I clung to, that helped me to survive, was that when I was a man, nothing would ever harm me again. I'd fight, or run, even kill if I had to to avoid the suffering that seem to be around every corner of childhood. Read More

This led to drugs, alcohol and running around the country trying to avoid pain. I had no lasting relationships, I'd quit a job in the face of almost any conflict. I came to the Lord at a young age, but when God allowed any painful circumstance to come into my life I treated Him as one more abuser to be gotten away from.

Finally at 40 years old I came to the end of myself, hopeless and broken. To my surprise, God was waiting there for me. I told God that I would give myself to Him if He would just give me the grace not to run anymore. God blessed me with a mentor who lovingly guided me through the truth of Romans 8:28. He showed me the lives of the heroes of faith and pointed out that they ran too, and God was faster. He met them where they were and transformed their lives. About two years later during a particularly rough time in my walk with God I had a head on collision. I was in a coma for almost two months and in bed for almost two years.

I suddenly found God's grace in a way that I had never understood before. At moments when I would feel overwhelmed, my loving Father would lift me and make it clear to me that at that particular moment I had all I needed to get through the trial and that I was only overwhelmed when I tried to consider the pain as a whole.

This was a glorious testimony to how God could use a guy like me. It's been over 12 years since my accident and I recently have found myself holding back a bit from God. Wanting to go on with Him, loving my life in service to Him, and yet a little fearful for my comfort. I heard your series and it was a painful process to keep listening - you said things that were difficult to hear. I wanted to tell you how grateful I am for that. I realized my anticipation of what fearful things might come has been producing a suffering that isn't for God's glory. I believe God is faithful and that His grace is sufficient.

Waiting on God


I was born and raised in Wisconsin. The fifth of seven children. I endured tremendous amounts of physical abuse from my father and equal of verbal and emotional abuse from my mother. I allways dreamed of this adult relationship with my father - I'll show him that I am someone. Read More

When I was 19 years old my father killed himself due to my mother leaving him and refusing to go back to him. This event occurred on June 17,1979. My first reaction was "there is no God." I went on to live my life that way. Rebellion became my name - I thought I was so smart. But dealt with a failed marriage, alcohol abuse, extreme sexual immorality, estrangement from my mother and my family as well as separation from my now adult children. I have lived a transient homeless life for many years off and on since my father's death. Even being homeless with my children when they were little.

Whenever something good happened I said it was because I was special. Whenever something bad happened I said it was God's fault. One year ago God and I had a head-on. At the time I was living in a government subsidized housing complex. I was listening to WVCY, local Milwaukee Christian radio and I heard God's word preached in a way I had never heard before. I felt this tugging at my heart. I felt this strong pull to fall on my face and repent and ask for forgiveness. I obeyed and with tears and broken everything I called out to Jesus - "Forgive me, I can no longer do this my way. I need you." I was so tired of my life and who I had become. I was hearing of His grace and mercy for the first time and I knew that this is what I want. I wanted to become obedient to Him. I wanted to trust and live for Him. I wanted to be made new. I wanted to learn to pray. I wanted to learn to forgive. I wanted to live. I wanted to be cleansed.

He lifted me up and put me in His loving arms and comforted me like I never felt before. I have been changed. The family relationships are still broken and I continue to pray for restoration. I am homeless and without any ID or Social Security card because my wallet was stolen at the end of January - but no matter the situation because of My Best Friend, My Redeemer, My Sanctifier Jesus Christ, My Helper The Holy Spirit I am going through this valley secure that God loves me and He is in control. I have been listening to your series on trials and the straight forward Biblical truths and principles that are applied in your messages have given me the strength to endure.

All my life I have run. This time I am staying planted waiting on God and My Savior Jesus Christ. I no longer live for the lies of Satan the flesh. I live for the Spirit, and praise Almighty God who loves us beyond human understanding. I have peace and I have joy. I am so in love with Jesus He is all I think about. He has healed me with His tender mercies. Thank-you Heavenly Father. Thank-you Jesus. Today I live for You and tell others of Your redeeming grace and tender mercies and what You did for us at the Cross.

Met Me Where I Am


What amazing timing in hearing Pastor James' message on trials. My mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer and I had to have a biopsy as well. I'm healthy and she's having surgery. Read More

The Holy Spirit has totally guided me through this and has allowed me to minister to my mom and uplift her. We went through a trial 15 years ago with our first child when she was born. And while I was drawn to the Bible and prayed I kept taking it back upon myself. This time I've learned to totally submit! And It's the Holy spirit that has allowed me to understand that it's Him, not me, that gives me the power to submit. And So thank God for your message that has completly ministered to me and met me exactly where I am right now. God Bless You.

Nothing Unique - but Amazingly Painful

Susan Moore

The story of an imperfect, perfect Christian home, white mini van, two loving parents, stay at home mom, dedicated daddy, two adorable-healthy girls, beautiful church family, baptism, confirmation, wonderful supportive youth group, trips with Christian friends for multiple work events, wonderful Christian school from 1st through 8th grade...onto high school in a loving community and then college. Read More

Trial...for me or her or us or everyone who loves us, all the above. Our 19 year old comes home to tell us she is gay. It's an old story, all the way back to Genesis. All the way to original sin. It's the unholy trinity, the devil, the world and man's sinful nature. Also, the trial of a lifetime - for everyone who loves her.

As I spend many sleepless nights, many hours on my knees in prayer, many days in the Word of God, there were added hours spent in Pastor James' study When Life is Hard. I began to pray differently, I began to know God's promises better, I began to understand like never before. WHY? And what I was to do now?

We are still in the trial, she is still very ill from all the consequences of a spiritual battle going on in her body, heart, mind and soul. She is slowly dying because she won't eat. She is getting help from counselors, we all are, but will it be enough? Only GOD knows. I tried to know, I tried to have my will be sufficient, but I learned it's not. I learned God's will is going to be.

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that are out there, perhaps reading this and now praying for this young lady and so many others out there that are lost in a sinful lifestyle. Pray for them, love them if they are around you, but be firm, standing up for Christ, elevating the truth in love. Thank you and may God richly bless you!

He Brought Me Back


My closer walk with the Lord began nearly a year ago. I always knew who God was and was raised in a non- denominational Christian household from the time I was about 12. However, I had become a prodigal daughter. A year ago God broke me and brought me back. Read More

I had come out of an abusive marriage with my oldest daughter, Hollie some years back, and a few years later I had met my younger two daughters' father.

We had been living together when I had gotten pregnant with second daughter Faith. She was born June 2, 2011. Things seemed ok...however, I knew I was living in sin and we were unequally yolked as their dad doesn't believe in God.

For at least a good month or more God had been speaking to me over and over that I needed to go back to church. I always would think "oh we have this this and this going on next Sunday." Well, May 19th 2012 I had never wished more that I had listened to God's still small voice. That night around midnight he said to me, he didn't think he could do this anymore. When I asked what he was talking about, he said - "be a family, be a father, be with me." He didn't know if he loved me anymore. And crash, my whole world came caving in on my head...

Just when I thought things couldn't possibly get any worse...five days after he left us, I discovered I was pregnant again! When I told him...at first he seemed not to care, then became angry. He insisted many times throughout my pregnancy that I get an abortion, said he hated the baby, didn't want anything to do with it, and didn't like it. When I expressed how scared I was to be doing this on my own, he simply said, "well you know what you can do about it."

Hope was born December 20, 2012 and is truly an amazing blessing from God! She is a content happy baby. And has brought blessings from God to my girls and I. Sadly, her father has chosen not to see her.

Needless to say it didn't take me long to hit my knees and cry out to God. I firmly believe that in order to bring me back home, this is what needed to happen. I have come so close to God. God has continually shown me how great He is. He has been my total provider, miraculously providing me with larger amounts of money to survive and speaking to me through the word when I wanted to give up and not go on.

I have been praying my girl's father's salvation and restoration, and amazingly God has also shown me through His word that he will restore my family. He has spoken to me in many amazing ways, showing me in His timing and that I need to be still.

Every day I go to my daughter's school a half an hour early just to hear Walk in the Word. And each day God has spoken to me through Pastor MacDonald's program. This last week was all about trials. How amazing God is that He loves me that much to organize so many things such intricate details that specific programs reach out to me at just the right point in time.

God has truly blessed and used Walk in the Word for His glory! And has shown me how much He loves me and has helped my love for Him grow and my walk with Him to be closer then I thought possible.

In the beginning, through my trials, it was shown to me how God is made strong in my weaknesses and I didn't fully understand that. But by my being weak, and humbling myself God has been able to be made strong in my life, and keep me standing and living. He becomes strong in other's eyes when they hear of the glory of what God is doing in my life, even through my hurt and weakness. He truly is an amazing God! Praise be to Him and Glory and Honor for ever and ever!!!! AMEN!

Please pray for the salvation of Donny, and the restoration of this broken family into one that will glorify and serve God!



When Life is Hard is the best teaching series out there. James MacDonald, thank you for sending this to me. In 2008 I wanted to end my life so bad, I tried for a year to turn my Jeep in front of oncoming semis but God wouldn't let me. He held that wheel so tight it wouldn't turn. Read More

My job in a secular ad agency as Senior Art Director had me on the edge of a nervous breakdown. The lying, backstabbing, etc that goes on is so unbiblical. So God answered by putting the company out of business. But I was still so stubborn he put more trials on me until now when I finally said, I give up, do what you want - I can't do it. Obviously!!! I made my life a mess.

I started letting therapists lead me down an evil path of gender issues. God said listen - I refused. He said fine I'll just keep throwing things at you ‘till you get it. He brought me to my knees, back to church and in touch with Pastor James. In one week after watching all the videos, reading the book and starting the study guide and a lot of prayer He answered three prayers in two days. He said, "You're mine and I'm not letting you go!!!"

What a fool I had been. Nothing will ever come between God and me again. My trials are far from being over but now I know God is with me I am part of the family. Anyone going through trials, take this series very seriously it may just save your life like it did mine. Truly inspired by God.

Right Where He Wants Me to Be


I have been married for three years. In 2008 my husband went into the hospital with liver failure. We have been back and forth to the hospital ever since. My husband is now waiting for a liver transplant. Life has dealt us many trials, but it wasn't until I read this book that I came to realize GOD has me right where He wants me. Read More

Walking with Confidence


My husband and I were foster parents for almost six years. After being foster parents and taking in all kinds of children, we experienced the biggest hurt of our lives. We thought we were doing what God called us to. We loved helping others. Then the unthinkable happened - we had a teenager who claimed my husband had an affair with her. Read More

Needless to say it brought the world as we knew it to an immediate end. We faced losing our own children and became outcasts in our community. My husband and I turned heavily to our church and God. We read book after book, Scripture after Scripture. I attended counseling for over a year. Every Scripture I came across gave me wisdom but not the answer or comfort I so desperately needed.

Then my precious ex-mother-in-law gave me this book. I started reading it just a few days after Christmas. As I began to work, God began to speak truth to me about our situation. I could not put the book down because it was if God were sitting right next to me telling me how much He loved me and wanted me to know how much he cared for me. God spoke confirmation that my trial was all due to His desired to pluck ugliness and unrighteousness from my life. He showed me that he wanted to purify me, cleanse me and make me whole. I am now walking with confidence in Christ and realize in my weakness that I am the strongest because of His graciousness, love and mercy.



On September 9, 2010 my husband called me and told me I needed to get home right now, our house was on fire. I thought he was kidding, but the seriousness in his tone told me otherwise. I rushed home to see my husband and two boys standing across the street watching the firemen come in and out of my house. Fire trucks blocked the road and the street was blocked off. It was horrifying to say the least. Read More

The months to follow would be the worst ever. I had to go through a trial like I never been through before. It was heartbreaking and very difficult. Looking back I can see how God had his hand in it all. No one was in my house, the house is getting rebuilt and looking better than ever, and my outlook on God has changed. I know I couldn't have done it without him. Our house should be done next month. I am so excited to go back home and live in a house that was broken so it could be fixed - just like me.


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