Your spouse's job was recently downsized, your children are struggling at school and your elderly parents require almost constant attention. Dealing with the tough stuff of life can bring anxiety and even despair. As a parent and pastor, Charles Swindoll is well acquainted with the struggles of life. In his new book, Getting Through the Tough Stuff of Life, he doesn't provide simplistic answers to our struggles, but invites us to meet Christ in the midst of them. Read more from our recent interview.

JC:  What compelled you to write this particular book now?


Swindoll:  Well I think the common misconception in the lives of those who are initially becoming aware of the message of Christ is that if I will trust in Him, all of our problems are solved and most of life’s difficulties will go away.  And as my subtitle describes, it’s always something.  There will always be something and even having Christ in ones life does not relieve me from the age-old battle.  There will always be something.  Obviously I wanted to write to the book and confront them head on.  And if you’re not perfect at least Christ is and because you know Him that somehow will rub off and that will make all the bad stuff go away.  No more temptation, no more anxiety, no more shame, no more doubt, no possibility of divorce and none of that is true.  I wrote it to bring us all back to reality.


JC:  Would you say there are some overarching principles that cut across the topics in chapters?


Swindoll:  Sure.  One is that regardless of the issue, the answer is going to be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s one if the overarching principles that will be true.  He will meet you at whatever crossroads you are at in life. Another is no matter how hard your try, how spiritual you become, you cannot and you will not be immune from life’s difficulties.  I would say the third principle is being human and going through the problems does not mean you are unspiritual.  There may be one more, because Jesus has gone through the whole spectrum of the realm of pain, the reality of misunderstanding and the powers of life, He has an understanding of what you’re going through better than anyone else, so bringing Him into it is not introducing Him to something He’s not familiar with.  As a matter of fact it’s tapping into strength and insight and direction that He can give like no one else.


JC:  Is there anything that we can do as Christians to prepare us for the tough times in life?


Swindoll:  Sure.  First is to be aware that they will come, not to be surprised.  Peter writes of that, “Don’t take it strange concerning the firing trial is this some strange thing happened unto you.”  That doesn’t mean I wake up in the morning and I think ok I wonder how many bad things are gonna happen to me.  It means when I wake up I realize I’m waking up in a real world and difficult things are very likely to occur.  Living without a difficulty is a rarity so facing that is a helpful thing.  I think also when you approach life like that you will not be sidelined or lose your sense of humor or sense of stability when they happen.  As a result of telling yourself this will occur, life is like this you’re able to step up and even do well through it if the attitude is what it outta be.  Life is 90% attitude and 10% what happens to you.  It occurs but how you respond to it is the big part of life.