I am praying for two of my Christian friends who are having a difficult time right now. May God bless them and give them strength during their trials. I know what it feels like to have a hard time. I also know what it feels like to have people say all sorts of crazy things during my hard times. This prompted me to write this post titled “encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time.” I experienced a rough time not long ago, and that season of heaviness, depression, and stress affected me deeply.
If you haven’t figured it out, I’m a person of faith. But, even if you are not, my encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time could give you ideas.
But do know faith in Jesus Christ helps you so much in navigating this crazy world.
Table of Contents
People have hard seasons for lots of reasons.
At the end of this blog post, I’m gonna talk about several reasons people go through hard times. You might find one that can relate to your friend and give you some insight into how to help them through it.
First, let me tell you about mine. My tough time actually began when I broken a bone. I know it sounds weird, but the limited mobility really worked on me emotionally. I felt so useless and isolated. I also felt forgotten. It was a challenging time.
Even after the shock of the injury wore off, this bad feeling lingered and lingered for weeks.
It was likely related to hormones and changes happening in this current season of my life, but either way, I was emotionally struggling while my friends and loved ones were wondering what to say to me going through such a hard time. I’m sure they felt confused and helpless.
Still, I wished the people in my life knew what to say to their friend going through a tough time.
When you see this arrow, it indicates my takeaway for you to remember.
Let’s get started with my ideas for encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time.
Idea 1: Save the “deep” talk.
For me, the best support came from those who didn’t try to analyze my struggle.
When I was going through my dark time, I didn’t want to explain it to anyone.
I just wanted to get through it.
The problem with people asking me that repeated, annoying question: “What’s wrong?” is that it puts me on the spot. Your friend may feel the same way.
Oftentimes, you can’t explain the “why” behind why you feel a certain way.
You don’t have the words. You are just in a “funk” and want to escape it.
In my opinion, it’s ok to ask the question ONCE. But I think it’s better to say something like, “I’m here. Or, if you want to talk, I’m here.”
What you can say that might help: say something like, “I got you covered, and I am here no matter what. Period.”
The Holy Spirit is real and has the POWER to guide you and give you the right encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time.
I’m a Christian, and I know God can help. Pray before talking to your friend or trying to encourage them. It really does make a difference!
Idea 2: Don’t feel compelled to give advice.
In fact, this whole need to give “advice” thing makes me want to hang up the phone on folks!
I’ve lived for over half a century.
I’ve served and studied God for over 30 years of that time. I know a lot of things and many scriptures.
When I was going through a hard time, I DID NOT need anyone to recite the Bible to me over and over or try to solve my problem.
I already know the Bible verses!
Instead, I just needed support and understanding.
Those people who were always trying to “fix” my problem and saying, “You should do this” or “You should do that,” got on my nerves. Seriously.
Note: I recognize that sometimes, it is appropriate to help solve a problem when a person is going through a hard season. At the same time, it’s not always the case.
As a good friend, your job is to know when to help solve problems, when to quote scripture, and when just to shut up.
Idea #3: Your silence can be golden.
Gentle support gestures go a long way when giving encouraging words to a friend going through a tough time.
I have a great example! My best friend is the absolute best at supporting me through my hard times. Maybe that’s why she is my best friend.
She’s had plenty of practice! Ha! Just like you, I’ve had some rough times in my life.
For real, her cards, texts, and words of encouragement are always right on time.
She always seems to know the appropriate, encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time.
She always knows what to do without doing too much.
Her subtle gestures fuel me through the storm.
I prefer those gestures to a nosy person who is always trying to figure out precisely what’s wrong with me.
Here is what you do for your friend going through hard times…
– Send a few texts. See the scriptures below for ideas.
– Call if you feel prompted to do so. However, call with the intent to listen more than you talk.
– Share funny things that happened throughout the day and bring cheer without being inquisitive or overbearing.
– You don’t really need to “KNOW” what’s going on to be supportive. Remember that.
– Ask, “On a scale from 1-10, 10 being “awesome,” how’s today? Then, just listen or move on.
– Always end with the “I’m here if you want to talk” sentiment.
Remember, keep it moving.
Idea 4: Don’t scripture-shower your friends going through hard times.
This may seem controversial to some, but when you “scripture” people to death during a hard time, it often lands on deaf ears unless you find the right scripture.
Again, I’m annoyed (sometimes) by people telling me scriptures I already know when I’m at the lowest point. After all, I’ll say it again…KNOW THEM!
Instead, try to relate to your friend. Talk to them. Meet a practical need, like lunch, cut their grass, bring shampoo, toilet paper – anything!
To be clear, I don’t hate the Bible…
In my dramatic attempt to communicate in this post, I may sound like I actually am an anti-Bible person; I’m really not. I just think Christians use it as a quickie solution without doing the work of really figuring out how to genuinely help. Some scriptures really did help me.
Hey, do you know which ones blessed me most during my difficult time?
The friends sent me some of those little-known obscure Old Testament scriptures. You know, the ones most people don’t know.
I loved those scriptures that really demonstrated God was there for me without me needing to do or be anything. Don’t you love those sorts of scriptures too???
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses His people with peace”.Psalm 29:11
That scripture will lift anyone at any time – even if for a moment.
Here’s another scripture to send to someone having a hard time:
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”Isaiah 40:29
Yes! Text me that type of verse!
What to say to someone going through a hard time? Say the right scripture at the right time.
One more scripture for your friend who is “going through” it!
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”Psalm 73:26
Ideal 5: Be a safe place … for real.
Resist the urge to tell anyone else your friend is going through a hard time or even that you’ve talked to them. After all, what’s the point?
The only exception is if you feel they are in danger or struggling with suicidal thoughts. In that case, do not be silent. No! Speak up, and speak up loudly!!!! Don’t leave them. This situation calls for desperate measures.
Ordinary life doldrums are different. It’s no one’s business you encouraged your friend or that they felt low. Again, what’s the point?
I can’t stand people who tell me, “She’s going through a hard time, so I had to pray for her.” Why did they feel the need to tell me about it unless they wanted me to do something with the information?
As a pastor’s wife, I know this happens from time to time. I feel unless I can call her right now WITH YOU ON THE PHONE, I shouldn’t know about it. It feels gossipy and icky.
As an authentic friend, all you have to do is pray and be a consistent source of non-judgmental support.
Again, no one else needs to know.
Not your mate, not your mom, not anyone! They don’t need to know what’s up with your friend. Actually, that’s a good thing to say to someone going through a hard time. Say: “This won’t go any further.”
It will make them feel safe and reassure them you have their back. That’s what friends do.
What to say to someone going through a hard time? Say, “This is between us and only us.”
So, there you go.
I’m no expert.
So, those are my suggestions based on my experiences.
You really gotta know your friend and what she needs, Christian woman.
Continuing the conversation…
In this section, let me tell you why I think so many of us go through difficult times in the first place. This may be the reason your friend is, too.
Reason #1: Unforgiveness has birthed bitterness.
When a person is better, it can lead to a lot of rough seasons. If the time is right, the situation is appropriate, and you feel God leading you, you can say to your friend going through a tough time, “How will you forgive __________ for this situation? What is your plan?”
I’ve struggled with unforgiveness and am struggling with it now for an entirely other situation. I talk about it honestly in a blog post.
Here’s an excerpt from my blog post about unforgiveness:
“The person who hurt me was close to being a friend in my book.
I trusted her with some (not all) secrets.
I put myself on the line for her so she could thrive, and I often helped her do her life better…even when it was a huge inconvenience for me. I even took a backseat on projects so she could shine.” Read my entry about the steps I took to forgive someone.
Reason # 2 for why we have hard times:
We fight with the wrong tools and
create collateral damage along the way.
We don’t let God be our avenger! We try to fight with earthly weapons. That never works for a Christian woman.
Christians refrain from fighting with earthly weapons because they follow Christ’s teachings of love, forgiveness, and turning the other cheek.
It’s about prioritizing spiritual warfare over physical conflict and striving to emulate Christ’s message of peace and reconciliation in a world often dominated by violence. It’s a reminder that our ultimate battles are against spiritual forces, not flesh and blood and that our weapons are of a different kind – faith, prayer, and the armor of God. So, it’s all about striving to be peacemakers, wearing our Christian armor, and living out the message of Christ in a world where earthly weapons often bring more harm than good.
Ask your friend going through a tough time something like, “You are trusting God to handle that, right?” Remind them they cannot fight God’s battles. It will only make things worse.
Here’s an excerpt from my blog post:
“…Why? Because we try to do things like the “world” does. I know why!
As Christians, we live on earth (that’s a no-brainer, right?)
We occupy earth; we cultivate earth…so we were earth-dwellers, right? I said, “Earth-dwellers…not bottom-feeders”.
Check out my post: https://godsygirl.com/god-is-your-avenger/
Here’s an excerpt from my blog post about depression:
I want to be precise because real depression exists, and I don’t want to be flippant about it.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s nothing that only scripture can remedy.
If you’re struggling with deep sadness, it’s important to seek professional help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified expert who can understand and support you.
Reason # 3:
We have unrealistic cultural expectations.
Black women or women in cultures with oppressive gender roles can be the catalyst for your friend going through a tough time. She could hate how she looks or be tired of being mistreated, leading to depression.
You could say to your friend going through a tough time “something like, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I wish things were different.”
I have a friend who is not part of my cultural background, but she is very sensitive to the many murders that sometimes bring me low. When a news story hits, she often will reach out and just say “I’m sorry.” that helps me so much. As her friend going through a tough time, it means so much just to know she cares.
“…For generations, the world told us we were ugly.
It said we were unattractive because of the way our hair hangs (yet Caucasian women would get curly perms); it said our skin tone was horrible, yet, they would bake for hours under the sun for a tan. Worse yet, the beautiful symmetry of our full breasts and curvy figures were considered “fat,” yet they would get implants. Popular culture has always maligned us in media and in popular opinions. Still, we survived.
Please know that I’m not being angry or bitter and just stating my truth. So, despite all this, black women had (and continually have to) define and embrace their own brand of beauty. It’s sort of ironic because we were appealing and beautiful all along. Society just never embraced it.” Read it all.
Wow. Yes, I went “there” in this blog post called “Understanding the strong Black woman thing”
For years, I thought I had to bear the weight of the world because Black women were “strong.” Indeed we are.
Many cultures bear strong women, but that doesn’t make me a super-human. Be sure to read this one even if you are not a woman of color.
Here are a few resources I’ve found:
“College students guide to depression.”
Embracing stress is more important than reducing stress; Stanford “psychologist says,”
Psychology Today is always a helpful resource.
Check out this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/depression
Friends hold friends accountable.
I think friends should hold one another accountable; it’s like having each other’s back in life’s journey.
It’s not about being the “fun police” but about caring enough to help your buddies stay on the right path.
Whether it’s keeping each other in check with goals, supporting personal growth, or ensuring everyone makes responsible choices, accountability strengthens friendships and helps us all become better versions of ourselves.
It’s a bit like being the supportive cheerleader and the wise mentor rolled into one, making the journey of life more enjoyable and meaningful for everyone involved.
This is why the best friends ask a friend going through a tough time, “Are you spending time with the Lord?”
When we neglect time with the Lord, it makes our bad times worse.
Ask your friend going through a tough time about it and urge them to turn to the Lord as much as you can.
If they skip time with the Lord…..
Skipping regular prayer and Bible study is like missing out on a daily dose of soul nutrition. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of life, but without these practices, we might feel spiritually off-balance. It’s a bit like trying to navigate without a map or a GPS.
Regular prayer and Bible study keep us grounded and connected to our faith, and they provide guidance in the crazy twists and turns of life. They’re like the reset button for our souls, and when we miss out, it can leave us feeling a bit lost. So, even in the midst of our busy lives, taking that time to pray and dive into the Scriptures can truly make a world of difference.
It was. The reason is I neglected my time with the Lord.
I wasn’t praying every day in solitude with God. I wasn’t setting aside the special, designated time to just be with Him. I’m talking about real Bible devotions, including prayer, silence, and Bible searching.
Fumes were what I was running on, and it showed.
I became unraveled. When you don’t “abide in the Lord, you become spiritually weakened. The enemy is able to pounce on you, and depression is often the result.
Full disclosure: I set myself up for the “pounce.” I had a major pity party!
Worship is also what I neglected. Most days, I was stuck in bed with my foot in the air. I binged on movies and watched sitcoms like a spoiled little brat.
I didn’t worship God. I didn’t fill my spirit with sounds of praise: my bad and my fault. I had one long pity party (8 weeks), which was foolish and useless.
Maybe not useless because I learned a lesson from it: SPEND ALONE, QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD EVERY DAY.
I knew this lesson but needed a reminder.
That’s it. Now you know what to say to someone going through a hard time…or at least what I think you should say.
What would you add? Tell me in the comments!
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Scriptures you can text to your friend going through a hard time
Don’t forget the pain can often be too intense to take in too many scriptures at once. Sending scriptures can also seem “preachy” too. Use wisdom. Be sure to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to direct you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Philippians 4: 12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
1 Peter 5: 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Hebrews 4:16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Deuteronomy 31:6,8 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you;my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 34:10b Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Isaiah 26: 3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Bible Verses of Encouragement That Bring Comfort
God doesn’t always take away the pain or suffering that we’re dealing with, but he does give us comfort in the midst of those troubles.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Isaiah 49:13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Romans 15:4 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Romans 8:37-39 The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be frightened. The Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.
Psalm 56:3-4 In the day when I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God whose word I praise, in God I have trusted; I will not fear. What can mere flesh do to me?
Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom will I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom will I be afraid?
Psalm 31:24 (MSG) Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. (You gotta love the Message Bible, right???)
Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (When my brother passed, this scripture helped me so much)
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