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How to have courage in difficult circumstances?

“Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” Mark Twain

Do you have the courage to stand when faced with overwhelming circumstances? Have you ever encountered a situation that left you so fearful that you could not move?

Difficult circumstances

A few years ago, our family life was shaken to the core. Over a ten month period we encountered several trials that left us dazed like a boxer getting nailed with an unexpected left hook.

I won’t share the whole story in this post, but I will give some of the highlights of our story of courage. During that period, our youngest son was born three months premature and spent two months in the hospital. My wife was extremely sick during the entire pregnancy and eight months afterward. She had to have major surgery.

I lost my job two weeks after the baby came home, both cars decided to have major problems at the same time, we had to exhaust our retirement accounts and to top it off my father suddenly passed.

Those were just a few things that we encountered during those tumultuous ten-months. Our world was literally turned upside down and inside out. Life as normal was dismantled. We had to make some drastic changes in our lifestyle to meet the new challenges.

Fear was constantly present. Thoughts of defeat bombarded my mind. Over and over in my head, I heard the same questions, “How are you going to recuperate from this”, “How are you going to make it and “Where is God.”

Those were trying times.

What is courage?

I have taught and ministered to others about having courage in difficult circumstances. I have encouraged others to stand strong and trust God in the face difficulties. Now it was time for me to put feet to my faith.

There were times I lost courage and almost gave into fear, but God always provided someone to encourage me or a passage of scripture or an encouraging book to read.

I remember one evening I was really struggling with fear. I needed encouragement. I can’t remember the name of the magazine or how I got it, but I read an article that talked about having courage in difficult circumstances.

I don’t remember everything in the article, but I do remember the author asking a powerful question. “What does it mean to have courage?”

He then defined courage as; standing when everyone else wants to run, speaking when everyone is afraid to speak, acting when everyone is paralyzed by fear, taking action in the face of danger, holding one’s character and moral uprightness when everyone else is tempted to compromise theirs.

Words of inspiration

I was so inspired by this definition of courage that I wrote it down and began to read it every day for inspiration. Just as I was inspired by the article, I want to inspire you to have courage in difficult circumstances.

Your life may have taken some strange twists and turns you never dreamed would have ever happened. You thought you were going on a smooth ride on a four lane expressway to your dreams, but you ended up on a dark, bumpy, winding, endless dirt road to disaster. You did not plan on your life going in this direction.

You imagined that you would be making a great salary, living debt free, happily married or leading your own business. You thought you would be living your American dream. But, it seems that you are living the American nightmare. You are so far from where you dreamed you would be.

I have learned in my most difficult circumstances, I must totally trust God’s leading. I admit that I have tried on several occasions to handle the situations my way and I blew it every time. When you view difficult circumstances in your eyes, it can make you feel inadequate, helpless, lonely and lost.

But, when you view your difficult circumstances through God’s eyes, you realize that you can come out restored, refined, renewed and regenerated. No matter what your circumstances may be, walk in courage because victory is possible.


Question: How have you shown courage in a difficult situation? Leave comment below.

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Comment by Bernard Haynes on July 5, 2012 at 6:45pm

Thanks for the comment Gary. You are right. When we were going through the intense parts of our struggle God did some amazing things that even today it blows my mind.

Comment by Gary M Foote on July 5, 2012 at 6:04pm


Thank you for being courageous in this post. It takes a leap of faith to openly share with others your struggles and I admire you for that. I think that courage has to be linked with fortitude. When we move forward not knowing how we are doing it or where it may leave I believe that courage starts to be practiced in our lives and as long as we are open to it we also allow God the opportunity to do amazing things in ways that we would have never expected. 

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