Life is an endurance race that's filled with challenging circumstances. It's all too easy to get discouraged when situations aren't working out the way you'd like, or to be tempted to quit when you can't see results from your hard work. But God will give you faith enough to finish the race well if you rely on His strength to keep running.

Here are some ways you can persevere through tough times in your life:

  • Think about the importance and potential in each new day. Remember that you're alive for a purpose, and that God is always present with you, available to help you fulfill it. Ask God for fresh strength every morning. Approach each day with an attitude of wanting to fully experience all God has for you and to contribute to others however you can.

  • Don't blame God for bad things that happen to you. Understand that God never causes suffering, but sometimes allows it to occur as a natural consequence of our fallen world. Know that He grieves along with you when you suffer, and will always transform bad into good in your life when you ask Him to do so. Openly express your feelings about suffering to God, then trust Him to heal you.

  • Remember that God never changes! Although life's circumstances constantly change, God remains the same, and you can always count on Him.

  • Accept God's forgiveness. Confess wrong actions and thoughts to God, commit to turn from them, ask for His grace to do so, then embrace the forgiveness He will give you. You can only fully live in the present and hope for the future when you've dealt well with your past.

  • Trust in God's wisdom. Humbly submit yourself to His guidance in your life, trusting that He is indeed God and knows better than you do what's best in every situation. Pray often for His direction in your life, then listen for it.

  • Know your callings. Your primary calling in life is to be faithful in a relationship with God, and your secondary calling is your vocation - the way you use your unique talents to serve Him. Make choices about how to spend your time, energy, attention, and money based on what your callings. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace you need to serve well.

  • View God as a master sculptor, who uses life's circumstances to chisel you more and more into His image. Be patient as He chisels you - it's a lifelong process. Cultivate a desire for your life to become a true work of art.

  • Read and meditate on Bible passages daily. Ask the Holy Spirit to use the words of Scripture to transform you as a person.

  • Have courage! God will sometimes ask you to do things that make you uncomfortable, and you may even alienate a friend or family member if you deliver a message from God's Word to him or her. But it's vitally important to remain faithful to everything God asks you to do. If you're obedient, you'll make eternal differences in people's lives. God will always give you the ability to do something He ask you to do.

  • Serve others however God leads you. Volunteer for ministry opportunities that match your callings. Know that God notices and values all faithful service - whether in public view or behind the scenes. Whenever you interact with others, try to share some of Christ's love with them, even if it's in small ways.

  • Remember that it's not over until it's over. People you may think will never change sometimes do, after many years of prayer. An idea you may think will never work sometimes does, just at a later time. Don't give up! Your faith is significant, and you won't know all that it has accomplished until you meet God face to face in heaven.

Adapted from Faith Enough to Finish, copyright 2001 by Jill Briscoe. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Ill., www.tyndale.com, 1-800-323-9400.

Jill Briscoe is executive editor of Just Between Us, a magazine for ministry wives and women in ministry, and serves on the board of World Relief and Christianity Today International. She and her husband Stuart have three grown children and 13 grandchildren.

Have you ever felt like giving up on something God wanted you to do? If so, what did you decide to do, and what resulted from that decision? How has God helped you persevere through tough times in the past? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.