Trusting God When It Doesn’t Make Sense

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It is not easy to maintain a steadfast faith when circumstances become overpowering and inescapable. Such was the experience of Jane, a woman I met at a conference. With tears in her eyes, she approached me and began to tell me her story. She had been a Christian since childhood, but her life had begun to fall apart. Her young husband was diagnosed with cancer, could no longer work, and was experiencing depression. In order to support their family of three children, Jane was working many twelve-hour shifts as a nurse. The weight she was carrying began to crush her spirit, and she felt as if she could no longer hold on to her faith. She found it hard to trust God. She felt hopeless and alone.

I embraced this precious young woman and wept with her. I so wanted to make her life right. I so wanted God to lift her burden. I so wanted to give her an answer that would instantly give her hope. Her feelings were certainly understandable, so much so that I wanted to protectively stand in front of her and tell God that he was giving her more than she could bear. After I prayed with her, though, I took her hand and asked her a question that I have asked myself many times when I have been overcome by circumstances and felt that my back was against the wall.

My question was this: “Jane, what are your options? You can continue your journey alone, relying on your own strength, trying to make your life work apart from God. You can blame God for your heartache and suffering, and turn your back on him. But is this the best way to walk this difficult road? At this point in your life, what have you to lose by choosing to trust God—even when it doesn’t make sense?”

As Jane considered these questions, she eventually whispered, “Nothing. I have nothing to lose by trusting God. Perhaps I have everything to gain.”

At this point in your life, what have you to lose by choosing to trust God—even when it doesn’t make sense?

In the midst of a crushing test of adversity, my friend Carol Kent has found that her faith and trust have carried her through her deep trial. Carol’s only child, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a young man who loves God, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on a murder charge. In her book When I Lay My Isaac Down, she shares,

All of us have circumstances that produce varying degrees of personal loss and devastation. Will we maintain our grip on hope in the process of defeat? Will we live our lives with passion and purpose even if, in this lifetime, we are not permitted to have an answer to why something has happened? Will we choose unshakable faith, or will we give up on God? I believe God’s great invitation is to engage us in the process of discovering the power of choosing faith when that decision makes no sense. There is hidden power in our unthinkable circumstances.

The essence of trust is confidence in the Lord’s promise to ultimately prosper us and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future. This kind of trust can be hard work, though, for it involves the unknown and the unexplainable. This kind of trust means choosing to remain faithful to the God who “knows all mysteries.”

Many times, I have cried out to the Lord, asking him to explain or change my circumstances for the better, and his standard response is always, Cynthia, do you trust me?

My standard reply is, “Yes, Lord, I will trust you if you’ll just tell me how this is going to turn out.”

The Lord quickly responds, Cynthia, if I tell you how it will turn out, then there will be no need for you to trust.

We don’t like mystery. We’re much more comfortable with certainty than with uncertainty. Paula Rinehart, a marriage and family counselor, writes,

Indeed, any serious grappling with trust will lead us to the heart of mystery, of all that God chooses not to tell us. And mystery, as someone once said, is an embarrassment to the modern mind. . . .
. . . But accepting the mystery of what we cannot know will lead us to the heart of God, where we trade our craving for explanation for a simple willingness to trust.

When our circumstances force us to come to God, what we find is mystery—the majestic mystery of God’s sovereignty, love, and trustworthiness. It is in the dark that trust becomes trust. It is when the questions are not answered that trust blesses us and pleases God. The verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter is such an encouragement: “Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.”

When our circumstances force us to come to God, what we find is mystery—the majestic mystery of God’s sovereignty, love, and trustworthiness.

Those who trust the Lord become like trees that are strong and can weather any storm. They are beautiful, always green and producing delicious fruit. Our trust is not in vain, for God’s plan is to prosper us and to bring beauty out of ashes. He is the only one who can.

Cynthia Heald
Cynthia Heald

You’ve been reading with Cynthia Heald, author of Living Wisely, The Faithful Way, the Becoming a Woman Bible Studies, and more. Follow the links to engage further or to read the first chapters for free.


[I] Carol Kent, When I Lay My Isaac Down (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004), 13.
[II] Paula Rinehart, Strong Women, Soft Hearts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 81

4 thoughts on “Trusting God When It Doesn’t Make Sense”

  1. After 22 years of unbearable emotional pain and illness I find it virtually impossible to choose to trust God. He made a personal promise way at the beginning that He still hasn’t kept. And that has caused me and my wife unspeakable pain and grief.
    My main problem is bringing all my pain and hurt to the one who allows it in the first place. It’s like living with a father who expresses his love by hitting you with one hand and occasionally comforts you with the other.

    • We are so sorry that you have experienced so much pain and suffering. We don’t know the depth of the pain that you have experienced and can only imagine how difficult it must have been to walk this path for so many years. This world is broken by sin and full of terrible suffering, but one thing that remains sure is that God is good, and He always keeps His promises. Psalm 145:13 tells us that “The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.” We don’t always know when or understand how, but the Lord will always keep His promises. Not only that, but He is a God that empathizes with our pain and walks with us in our suffering. He never promised us a life free from pain, in fact, He told us very clearly that we will experience suffering during our time living in this world that is broken by sin. But we are not without hope! In John 16:33, Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” While this life will contain painful experiences we never imagined, Revelation 21:4 tells us that one day God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. He is at work setting all things right, even if we don’t see it in the moment. In the meantime, we will be praying for you and your wife.

    • Last month me and my husband went through h e l l. I felt like God was punishing me and I couldn’t understand why because I love God so much! What I’m about to say to you is the reason why me and my husband are still standing strong in the faith.
      Think of it like this. You are on a winning team. Your couch promises you and the team that you will win.
      He further insurance that you will win by giving you as many tools as possible. No matter what the couch teaches you it will never change the fact that there will always be other teams who will go against you.
      The players on the other team could give a ratsass about your training or who your couch is
      All they want to do is win by any means necessary.
      Welcome to the true walk of faith.
      God gives us the tools, love, knowledge and wisdom that we need.
      Like: The Bible, Pastors, Church community, Holy Spirit, Church etc
      His promises are true and they will never fail.
      The opposition is the Devil.
      He will try to convince you that you do not need any tools.
      The devil will try to convince you that God is everything He says he’s not.
      But when you have studied the words of God you can happily, Joyfully reject those thoughts and say
      Enough, I Am Exactly Where God Wants me to be.
      I Will Overcome.
      No Weapons Of Any Kind Formed Against Me Shall Prosper.
      Stay on the winning team. God desires your love please don’t quit on the team.
      Even if you do, or if you had given up on God the door will always be here wide open just for you…
      Hope this helped somebody… anybody. Amen.

  2. i have been a believer and have witnessed to my faith all my life…
    but the last 3 years has been flooded with medical problems and chronic pain.
    life makes no sense at times. i hold to my faith but feel very frustrated and angry at times
    i don’t like feeling that anger but it is a normal emotion and it is hard to change perspective
    as i witness to others i am more tolerant of those who question God as life is not easy at times
    we don’t know what others have gone through and it is not our right to judge others regarding
    their pain. rather we need to walk with them and show love without judgement.


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