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Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


If you believe you are going through the worst phase of your life, think of it as good news. It is good news because the next cycle will be something good, positive and quite rewarding.

The psalms reveal how David thought he was at his wit's end and things would not get worse, but they did get worse before they got better. Many people can attest to the fact that things get worse before they get better.

Things Change

Things will not stay good all the time. Sometimes things will go from good to bad. Then things will go from bad to worse. When you think things couldn't get any worse, they might.

Eventually, the tables will turn and the worse things will revert back to being just bad. The bad things will change back to being good. That's the way life is.


The Bible is full of examples of how things changed from good to bad, then from bad to worse before the cycle reversed to good again.

  • God promised Abraham that he would have as many descendants as the stars in the sky. It did not happen right away. Things for Abraham and Sarah went from bad to worse before they received the son God promised them twenty-five years later when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90. (Genesis 15-21).
  • At seventeen, Joseph dreamed he would be a ruler. Then he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. He was falsely imprisoned for years in Egypt. All these bad things happened before Pharaoh elevated Joseph to be second-in-command of all Egypt (Genesis 37-50). Things got worse before they got better in Joseph's life.
  • God called Moses to help His people in Egypt who were forced to make bricks with straw. Once Moses arrived, Pharaoh forced the slaves to make the same number of bricks without straw. Things got worse long before they got better.
  • God promised to give Abraham's descendants the land of Canaan. That might have been hard for them to believe when things got worse for them. They endured 400 years of slavery and 40 more years wandering in the wilderness which was no picnic. However, they did enter the promised land (Exodus 1 - Joshua 3).
  • If you think about Job's life, you will see how things went from bad to worse. Messengers revealed to him that he lost his animals, personal possessions and children. Job was afflicted with sores all over his body. He sat out on the ash heap for many days in isolation. To make matters worse, he was joined by three friends who questioned him and insinuated that Job had done something wrong to deserve the hand he had been dealt. Finally, God turned Job's circumstances around and what had been bad was good once again.
  • The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record that Jesus Christ was rejected by most of the Jews, betrayed and crucified. He was buried in the tomb. Things seemed as if they were going from bad to worse. Jesus became victorious when He rose from the dead on the third day.

In the above cases and in other cases in the Bible, we see how God worked things out for His people after they encountered bad things that got worse. The same pattern happens in everybody's life. Things often get worse before they get better.


God's Pattern

The pattern is God's promise, then personal pain, and finally fulfillment and victory. It would be so nice to go from good to better without going from bad to worse. However, the worse phase cannot be skipped.

In our own lives, things may get worse first. In the end, things will get better. God promised victory to His people. There are some things to consider when you are going through those painful phases.

  1. Bad times help us learn to trust God more than usual. If things were going great all the time, we would not rely on God. We would become so comfortable and complacent that we would not trust God at all. Peter explained it well in 1 Peter 1:6-7 that trials are a test of our faith.
  2. Trials happen as God works behind the scenes for our greater good and for His glory. James wrote, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)
  3. Our worst times teach us to be patient and wait on God. God will do what He said He would do, but He does it in his time, not on our timetable. Remember, Abraham had to wait 25 years for the son God promised him.
  4. We might not give God the glory He deserves when things are going great. God will ensure that His glory will be magnified in the greatest measure after we have been tested, according to Romans 8:28-39.

When you think your life is at its worse, you might be right. Trust God that your pain is not in vain and things will eventually get better.

Spiritual Storms and Natural Storms

God knows what is best for us. Therefore, sometimes He allows situations to get worse so He can make us better. Allowing difficult situation is one way God gets our attention. If things were always at their good for us, then we would never come to our best selves.

Spiritual storms are just like natural storms. They will come into our lives, but storms will not stay.

Jesus asleep in the boat during a furious storm

Jesus asleep in the boat during a furious storm

Illustration in the Bible

According to Matthew 8:23-27, one day Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat when He and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. A terrible storm came up. The boat rocked back and forth, and waves swept overboard. Jesus' disciples were afraid, but Jesus kept on sleeping.

The disciples woke Jesus up and cried out to Him, "Lord, save us! We are going to drown!" Jesus replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"

Natural storms and spiritual storms cause that reaction. Jesus wants us to look beyond the storms. We should take our focus off of our problems and go to the Lord in prayer. Jesus calmed the stormy seas and winds for the disciples. He will do the same for us.

In the World Today

Not only do things go from bad to worse in our personal lives but also in the entire world. As the return of Jesus gets closer, evil and social chaos will get worse before they get better. According to 2 Timothy 3:13, "Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Matthew 24:6-7 tell us that "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places."

The book of Revelation tells of things that must happen in this world before Jesus returns. While we don't like those things and we try to do something about them, they must take place. Since we cannot stop those things from happening, God wants us to grow through them by trusting Him with the knowledge that things will get worse before they ultimately get better.

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