How to Hang On: A Biblical Alternative

Life Can Be Tough

A few weeks ago, my forty-one-year-old son called. “Dad, my colonoscopy results show a tumor and colon cancer.”

Four years ago this week I rushed my wife to the emergency room. The young ER doctor said to me as she was sobbing, “I’ll let your neurologist give you the details when he’s here in the morning. I’m so sorry, your wife’s malignant brain tumor has come back, larger than before.” 

She passed away six weeks later.

Was failing to prevent the cancer or its early detection my fault?

Five years ago, my father called me. 

“Jim, I’ve fallen and can’t get up. Don’t call 911. I want you here to take care of me.”

My father died less than eight-hours later. His heart failed. 

In 2014, my mother passed away. 

From 2004 until mother’s death, I found myself as her caregiver. I even changed my work schedule to work nights for several years where I could take her to her medical appointments. This including navigating her having a kidney transplant in 2011.

God, I don’t want more bad news. My heart aches for the loss and pain my loved ones have experienced. I don’t want to be a caregiver again, but will do whatever it takes for my family.

Being honest, I cry out, “No, God. Not another assignment as a caregiver. Why my family? Why me? The pressure of life is too much.”

God’s word says,

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Maybe, like me, you find that life is getting you down. Do you feel you’re at the end of your rope? 

Here are seven Biblical principles I’ve learned on how to hang on when you feel you’re at the end of your rope and the pressures of life are unbearable.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me.

Yes, God loves me. 

The Bible tells me

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

Because God loves me, I don’t lose heart! 

The Bible tells me

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”

2 Corinthians 4:1

I learned that it’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! Remember, our performance does not give us our worth. I am what I am. By the grace of God, I am what I am. God’s grace helped me through losing my father and my wife.

The Bible tells me

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

1 Corinthians 15:10

Remember, God’s grace gives us the power to start over. Even when we lose a parent or a spouse, God helps us to start anew. Because He loved us, as Believers, we are more than conquerors.

The Bible tells me

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

I wondered what I could have done to better care for my loved ones. If only I made my father eat better, get that check-up. What if I had encouraged or even made my wife go to MD Anderson, the Mayo Clinic, or John Hopkins to get the world’s best care?

Why didn’t I pray harder or longer? Why didn’t I claim this or that Bible promise?

Satan would want us to blame ourself for our loved not recovering, especially when they are young or even of middle-age.

The Bible tells me

“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:2

Principle Three: It is not about me.

When bad things happen, I need to remember it’s not all about me. Yes, I could face the consequences of wrong choices, but we live in a sinful, fallen world. Bad things happen to good people. Disease and death happen.

The Bible tells me

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.”

2 Corinthians 4:5

I need to realize my ego will only take me so far. In my wife and my father’s illness and passing their journey was used to point family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers to Jesus Christ.

It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

When caring for my wife, I got so tired. The initial days of her last hospitalization before she moved to hospice care, I spent over fifty hours without sleep. Heart break and trying to do it all exhausted me.

I called, no cried out, for help from God, her sisters, and my adult children.

The Bible tells me

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

2 Corinthians 4:7

I learned I couldn’t do it all. Pacing myself wasn’t enough. I grabbed hold of God and won’t let go. 

I realized life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

Accepting God’s love guided me through the rough and not so rough spots. God was and continues to be glorified through the love He poured out on my loved one’s life.

The Bible tells me

“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:15

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

As I continue to face challenges of caring for family, I look to God. I make sure I stay in His word and continue to pray.

I need God’s strength and renewing every day.

The Bible tells me

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

Somehow, I have learned that the challenges of life, including cancer and death, while tough, aren’t the end-all.

The Bible tells me

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,”

2 Corinthians 4:17

Remember that God helps face your troubles and hang on. God will be with you as you face the challenges of daily living.


Heavenly Father, help me turn to and rely on You. Help me keep hanging on and trusting You.


  1. Can you recall a time when God helped you when it seemed as if you were at the end of your rope?
  2. Have you ever went through doubt that you failed to do enough or mishandled a tough situation? Is Satan placing guilt and acquisitions in your mind that you handled it wrong? 
  3. How did you over come that doubt or do you need to lay your doubt before God now?

I took all Scripture verses from the New King James Version of the Bible.