Life Is Hard: A Study for Teens

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading



By Sean Fryer

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”—2 Timothy 4:7

Life is hard! You may be thinking, “Duh, I already know that!” But even though you may know this statement is true, I want you to embrace this fact in your heart. Life is hard. 

I’ve heard it said many times, “You’re either in a trial, just coming out of one, or about to go into one.” Please, before you stop reading because you’re already discouraged, hear me out! Today, we’re going to talk about the guy who wrote the verse above; actually the guy who wrote most of the New Testament, the apostle Paul.

You see, Paul had one of the most difficult lives of really anyone I can think of in history. Look what he said about his life, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:23–27).

Through all of that, Paul was able to say those words we read at the beginning. I read that and I ask myself, how? How could you go through so much and still keep fighting, running and ultimately, keep your faith? Over the next seven days, we’ll look at how God uses our suffering and trials to mold and shape us, but here’s three ways Paul was able to get through these trials.

  1. God was with him: Right before one of his shipwrecks, Paul said, “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me” (Acts 27:23). This doesn’t just go for Paul. God is with each and every one of you! David famously asked the question, “Where can I go from your presence?” And look at what God did . . . He sent an angel to Paul right when he needed it. In the same way, God is with you!

  2. He was doing God’s will: Paul didn’t let all of these trials stop him because he was following God’s plan for his life. Shortly before he was shipwrecked and bitten by a viper, God had told him to go to Rome (Acts 23:11), and that’s what Paul was doing. 

  3. He believed God: In the middle of the storm that was going to wreck the ship he was on, Paul proclaimed, “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me” (Acts 27:25). Look how much Paul trusted God! The Bible has a lot to tell us about how God will use our suffering and trials to do an incredible work in our life and to prepare us for heaven. If we can believe Him, like Paul did, we will begin to see the work God is doing.