Daily Readings from Crushing

90 Devotions to Reveal How God Turns Pressure into Power


By T. D. Jakes

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Learn how God prepares you for His divine purposes and find strength and grace during life’s greatest struggles with this insightful 90-day devotional.

In Crushing, #1 New York Times bestselling author T.D. Jakes wrestled with the age-old questions: Why do the righteous suffer? Where is God in all the injustice?

Now, in Daily Readings from Crushing, Bishop Jakes wants to encourage you that God uses difficult, crushing experiences to prepare you for unexpected blessings. If you are faithful through suffering, you will be surprised by God’s joy, comforted by His peace, and fulfilled with His purpose.

This daily devotional will inspire you through 90 days of scriptural wisdom and reflection to have hope, even in your most difficult moments. If you trust in God and lean on Him during setbacks, He will lead you through.


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Our most challenging times in life can be seen as our crushing periods. Crushing implies that our souls have felt deep and immense pain, fear, or turmoil. What we thought we were has been bent and twisted under pressure. Both external and internal forces have pounced upon us, causing anguish and agony.

Crushing can make us feel as if we have been left to die. All that we once knew has become unfamiliar; its shape has been changed and distorted, crushed like an aluminum can left to be discarded.

Throughout my life, I have endured many crushing experiences—from hearing my daughter’s tearful voice telling my wife and me that she was pregnant at thirteen to watching my own mother succumb to Alzheimer’s to experiencing a true sense of helplessness when my son suffered a heart attack while I was miles away on another continent. Through years of reflecting on these dark hours, I have come to find that they have far more meaning than what we experience at the time.

I have come to find God’s joy, comfort, and purpose in the midst of the crushing. In these moments that I experienced as my most difficult times in life, I have seen my faith grow and develop in a way I didn’t think possible. In the toughest times, the darkest hours, I have found the light. I have come to know that God will lead you through.

In this book, I hope to encourage you that God uses difficult, crushing experiences to prepare you for unexpected blessings. If you are faithful through your crushing, you will be surprised by the blessings you will find. As you read these ninety devotionals, I pray that you see how God has turned pressure into power in your life.

Joy in Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2–4 NIV

I think the opening verses of the epistle of James pretty much sums up the message I am presenting in Crushing. James 1:2–4 exhorts believers to consider trials with great joy, or pure joy. Why? James quickly provides an answer. He says that trials basically test our faith. And when our faith is tested, we gain perseverance, or the stuff that makes us stick to our beliefs. And when we have this stick-to-it perseverance, we are considered mature and complete. With this type of maturity, we lack nothing. Wow!

Mature believers understand this verse, not because they have read it so many times, but because they have probably endured so many trials that they have personally applied this verse to their lives. They’ve been through many ups and downs, or, as the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” says, they’ve been through “many dangers, toils, and snares.” And they’ve seen how their faith has been strengthened because of these trials. They understand how they have matured and become complete because they have tested this faith thing out time and time again—and come out on the other side still believing and holding on. In fact, they’ve probably seen how those trials have produced not only a stronger faith but also a better outcome.

I definitely couldn’t see the “better” outcome when my precious thirteen-year-old daughter told me and her mother she was pregnant. I couldn’t see the powerful ministry she would go on to have with her husband, nor could I comprehend the young man my grandson would become as a result of my daughter’s pregnancy. Yet, looking back, I can see how that trial produced perseverance in all of us. While we might have been crushed for a short time, now we can definitely understand James’s principle of rejoicing in trials playing out in our lives.

If you are facing a trial right now that is crushing you, you may not feel like counting it as joy. But take a look over your life and some of the other trials you endured. Follow the path and trace how God brought you through. How did that situation make you more mature and complete in Christ? Use that example to help you count your current trial as joy.

Dear Lord: Thank You for the trial I am currently facing. I look forward to watching You work in it to strengthen my faith and make me complete. I desire to lack nothing! Amen.

Comforted to Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NKJV

Throughout Crushing and throughout my ministry, I’ve tried to be authentic. I often use examples of my own life trials to illustrate sermons and stories in my books. I believe that if anything is worth sharing from the pulpit, from the podium, from the boardroom, from movie and television screens, or even from the pages of the books I write, then it must be authentic to my own experience.

That being said, I’m still sure many people wonder how I, a man of God, could be so deflated, discouraged, doubtful, and even depressed when certain events hit me and crush me. How can I feel trapped in my pain, leveled by circumstances beyond my control, powerless to protect those I loved the most? How can I be unable to enjoy my life’s blessings? I am just as human as anyone else, and during the crushing blows of life, I’m equally as susceptible to suffering.

However, I have learned what Paul wrote about in today’s Scriptures. Oftentimes, the comforting words or comforting lessons I learn during my trials are exactly what can help others as they go through their trials. In essence, I am comforted so I can comfort others. My trials are not just for me. The things I learn through my trials can help strengthen someone else in the midst of their trials.

I believe this principle applies to every member of the body of Christ. You don’t just go through crushing and painful situations to test your own faith. You come through those things to be able to relate to others. Have you ever developed deeper empathy for a person or even a situation once you’ve experienced a similar situation? Have you been able to minister more authentically to those grieving because you have grieved the loss of a loved one firsthand?

There can be purpose in your pain, and it can be far greater than anything you are able to see in the midst of your tears. Take heart and look for ways to comfort others even as you are comforted.

Holy Comforter: Grant me Your spirit to view my trials as opportunities to receive Your comfort. Allow me to be propped up and nurtured by Your powerful spirit as I seek opportunities to comfort others. Thank You for Your promise to send a Comforter and to never leave me alone. I receive Your healing and I anxiously await the opportunity to offer Your comfort to others. Amen.

Working Together, Part 1

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Genesis 50:20 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 NIV

I know how hard it is to understand and even believe in God’s purpose for your life when you are being crushed, beat down by life’s circumstances. But trust me, God has an amazing and miraculous way of using the very things that beat us down to fulfill our greater purpose. It is what Paul meant in Romans 8:28 when he said that all things work together for our good. He didn’t say “some things” or “a few things” or “only the good things”—Paul said “all things.” This includes the hard, the painful, the unexpected, and the seemingly unbearable, unimaginable, and intolerable things.

For an up close view of how all things work together for good, you need only to turn to Genesis and review the story of Joseph (it begins in chapter 37 and continues throughout the rest of the book). Let me just give you a few highlights. At an early age, Joseph dreamed that his brothers would bow down to him (see Gen. 37:6–7). His brothers didn’t like Joseph’s dreams nor the fact that Joseph was his father’s—Jacob’s, or Israel’s—favorite. So, Joseph’s brothers conspired against him and threw him into a pit without water; he would have died right there. However, the brothers decided to sell him to Midianite traders who were passing by, so they pulled him out of the pit and sold him.

From there Joseph was brought to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, an officer in the Egyptian army. Joseph found favor with Potiphar, who put Joseph in charge of his household. However, Potiphar’s wife really liked Joseph, too, and wanted to sleep with him. Joseph, being a righteous man, didn’t want to betray his boss nor his God, so he refused the woman’s advances and fled. Potiphar’s wife didn’t take kindly to being rejected, so she lied and said that Joseph had tried to take advantage of her and left his cloak. This made Potiphar angry and he threw Joseph in jail. (All of this is in chapter 39.)

But even in jail things worked together for Joseph’s good. He was able to interpret the dreams of fellow prisoners, who he asked to remember him when they got out. Of course they didn’t—until one of the men needed to interpret another dream and thought about Joseph. Joseph was brought out of prison to interpret the dream of the king. Because of this, Joseph was then put in charge of the king’s house and even the people of the land (see chapters 40 and 41).

And this is where Joseph’s earlier dream comes to pass. Because Joseph was wise and followed God’s leading, he had told the people of Egypt to save for a famine—even though they were in times of plenty. So when the famine came, the Egyptians still had plenty of grain even though there was a famine. They had so much that they could sell to people from other countries.

And lo and behold, Joseph’s brothers—the very ones who had sold him—had to come to Egypt for grain. They had no idea they were bowing to their brother when they asked for grain, but Joseph knew who they were. When he revealed himself to his long-lost brothers, they were afraid. They thought for sure Joseph would exact revenge upon them. Yet Joseph didn’t. He told them that the bad they had done to him was used for good. What they had meant to harm him, God had used to establish His purpose.

Oh, to see our trials as good; oh, to see our times of trouble as moments for God to build us and shape us and bring about our destiny. God is working all things together for our good.

Almighty and Merciful God: Give me the wisdom to see the good working through the bad. Give me the grace to proclaim like Joseph and say, “What you meant to harm me, God meant for my good.” Amen.

Working Together, Part 2

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Genesis 50:20 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 NIV

I’ve learned that some lessons in life can be understood only in hindsight. Consider Joseph’s rich story again. This young man knew he had a promising future; he had seen it in dreams from God. Yet many of his days were far from his dreams. He was captured by his own brothers, thrown in a well, and then sold to a group of Ishmaelites. Can you imagine how Joseph felt? Did he wonder when his dream would come to pass?

From there he went to Potiphar’s house and found favor with him. There Joseph lived a good life and was in charge of his master’s home. Yet misfortune found Joseph yet again—this time through the deceitfulness of Potiphar’s wife, who could not have Joseph in the way she wanted. This led him to prison.

Even while locked up, Joseph experienced God’s favor, showing us that God can grant us goodness even when we are in trying situations and hard places. Yet he was betrayed and forgotten until another turn of events brought him to the mind of a former prisoner, the chief cupbearer to Pharaoh.

Again, in the winding and twisted road known as Joseph’s life, he was raised up and put in charge; this time he was in charge of even more—the land of Egypt. He used his God-given wisdom to help the people during a famine, which eventually brought his brothers right back to him—and this time his dream became a reality—those brothers bowed down to Joseph.

I don’t think anyone would blame Joseph if he decided to withhold good from his brothers—after all, it seems as if his chain of misfortunes had begun with them way back in Israel. However, when you realize God’s purpose in your life, as Joseph clearly did, you do not allow bitterness and hatred to reign; no, instead you focus on God’s intentions and purpose for you. When Joseph saw his brothers, he did not see the trials and tribulations he had been through. He didn’t see the dry well he was in nor the journey to Egypt in slavery because his brothers sold him. Joseph didn’t dwell on his prison stay or even the deceit of Potiphar’s wife. No, when Joseph saw the manifestation of his dream right before his eyes, he turned his thoughts to God, the one who really held the master plan of his life in His hands. Joseph saw what God intended. With that in mind, Joseph had no other choice but to rejoice and give God the praise.

Look at what God had done. It was clear in hindsight that God had turned awful situations and greedy and jealous people into good for His intended purpose. Oh, to view our lives as Joseph saw his. Each detour and test is working together for good, for our purpose. Trust and believe.

Master of the Universe: I know all things work together for Your good and according to Your purpose. When my path is rough and rocky, please help me to view my life as Joseph viewed his—according to Your intended purpose. Help me to trust that You are developing me and working things out for my good. I desire to run on and see what the end will bring for Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Forgiveness vs. Bitterness

Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God?”

Genesis 50:18–19 NRSV

As I’ve said previously, we can learn a lot from Joseph’s story. One of the main lessons is that Joseph refused to allow bitterness and hatred to overshadow all that God had done—and was doing—in his life. No, things didn’t work out as I’m sure Joseph had imagined, but Joseph was able to see God’s amazing and marvelous hand working in his life to bring about just what God had promised. This, I’m convinced, is a key component of living fully.

Look at Nelson Mandela’s example. This man was jailed for twenty-seven years because he was fighting for justice. He was cut off from his family, forced to do hard labor, and treated as less than a citizen, all because he felt a calling to seek liberation for his people. I’m sure there were many times when Mandela saw prison as the worst possible punishment, but he himself said he did not hold on to the feelings of bitterness and hatred that were easily built up while he was locked behind bars. No, he said that instead, “As I walked out the door toward that gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

Mandela chose forgiveness; he forsook bitterness that I’m sure tried to creep inside of him during the nearly three decades he was cut off from his family and friends, years taken from him at the prime of his life, simply because he wanted freedom for more than himself.

Perhaps Mandela understood the key to getting through crushing experiences. He could have seen those years in prison as a nurturing ground. He could have seen the dirty places of prison as the soil needed for his growth. Could he have realized that God had a strategy even in those ugly places? Did he feel God cultivating him into something more than his circumstances could possibly reveal?

We know Mandela’s story did not end behind bars in his dirty place; Mandela became the president of South Africa, the very country that instituted the apartheid Mandela had fought against. Did he gain valuable leadership skills while simmering in his dirty place? Did he gain insight to offer reconciliation and bring a nation together?

Of course no one wants to endure that type of suffering, but what if the very place you find pain and hurt is the soil for your growth? Choosing forgiveness over bitterness—like Joseph and like Mandela—will be the only way you can survive and be set free. Don’t let your circumstances turn you into a bitter person who wastes all the nurturing and cultivation you’ve been through. Let it go. Release it so it will not hold you captive.

Liberating Lord: Give me the desire and strength to free myself from bitterness and hatred even in the midst of my suffering. Remind me of Your loving kindness and mercy as I let go of the ugliness that threatens to hold me back. I don’t want my time in these dirty places to be in vain. I want to be used by You to accomplish all that You desire. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in…

Proverbs 27:25 NIV

Understanding the cultivation process can sometimes help us better understand the things God is doing in our lives, especially during what feels like a devastating crushing period. Couldn’t this period also be a time of planting, a time where God is moving you from the place He found you and planting you in a different vineyard? God is somehow supernaturally grafting you to a cultivated vine, the place He knows you will receive exactly what you need to flourish. You will, of course, need time to crow, and it may cost you your comfort and you may be forced to be around the unfamiliar for a period of time. That is where real growth takes place—in those dark places that are not always familiar to us.

But I’ve learned that the Master Gardener is intentional about His process. He knows His seeds intimately and He knows what is best for them, and they will grow and develop best. This is the secret to accepting the visible violence of turbulent times: we must remember that soil must be upturned or else it will go fallow, depleted of nutrients and minerals and unable to accommodate new growth. Isn’t it funny how what is being done to produce growth often feels like upheaval? Isn’t it ironic that the growth process requires the shifting of dirt and the tossing of the ground?

Could your crushing period really be your growth period? God is adamantly invested in developing us into something we would never be without His direct intervention. When we find ourselves broken, battered, beaten, and bruised by our circumstances, it is possible that the Master to whom we’re praying to resolve the problem is the very One who sanctioned it and is using it to accomplish some greater effect. Could this current period merely be God’s way of tending to the soil He has planted you in? Don’t curse the very moment that may just be your blessing.

Holy One: I now know You may be using this trying time to develop me and cultivate me into the product You desire me to become. Through my pain and discomfort, help me to rely on You and Your maturing process. I want to be what You desire of me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God’s Handiwork

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

In the midst of our most crushing times—times when we may wallow in self-pity and want to sink deep into the quicksand of our sadness—we may lose sight of who we are and, more important, who God is. We may let our mistakes, mishaps, or misadventures drain of us determination and cloud our vision.

What can you do? How can you get up when you’ve been knocked down and all you really want to do is stay down? I use a quote commonly attributed to Harriet Tubman to begin chapter 2 in Crushing. It is worth repeating: “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Now this might just sound like a nice quote or some great words strung together, but unless you know Ms. Tubman’s story, you probably can’t get the full impact of these words. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in the late 1800s in Maryland. She endured horrific conditions—as she was beaten and whipped as a child in slavery. One account says she suffered a head wound when a slave owner threw a heavy metal weight; the weight was supposed to hit another slave but instead it hit a young Tubman. She suffered dizziness and pain throughout her life because of the injury that was meant to be sustained by another.

However, Tubman didn’t sit and wallow in her pain or in the plight of her condition. She found within herself the wherewithal to escape slavery and find freedom in Philadelphia. And once she tasted freedom, she realized she couldn’t leave others in their condition without trying to help. She returned to Maryland to help her relatives and many others escape. She was called “Moses” because she led many to freedom.

Tubman was also a devout Christian. I believe she must have known that she was created for more than a life of suffering in slavery. She must have known that she was God’s “handiwork,” created by God to do good works. And this realization led her to believe she could muster up strength, patience, and passion to change not only her world but the world of so many others.

Use your pain to find a path to create a better world. You have what it takes right inside of you. After all, you are created by God. God made you who you are!


On Sale
Oct 22, 2019
Page Count
272 pages

T. D. Jakes

About the Author

Bishop T. D. Jakes is one of the world’s most widely recognized pastors and a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books. Named byTime magazine as “America’s Best Preacher,” his message of healing and restoration is unparalleled, transcending cultural and denominational barriers. Jakes is the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House, which has a congregation of more than 30,000. His weekly television outreach, The Potter’s House, and his daily television program, The Potter’s Touch, have become favorites throughout America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Jakes lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Serita. Learn more about Bishop Jakes at http://www.tdjakes.org and http://www.thepottershouse.org.

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