Trusting God when you don’t understand isn’t always easy. In fact, most of the time, it’s just plain hard. That’s how I felt recently when my world was spiraling out of control.
I had just lost my grandmother and my husband was hundreds of miles away when our car broke down. I was grieving, and I felt alone. Worse yet, there was nothing I could do to change the situation. I was helpless. I needed to surrender control of the situation, but I was having trouble doing it.
At various points during our lives, we can find ourselves in difficult situations, making it hard to trust God. It can be hard to make sense of what is happening, and it is even harder to put our trust in a God we can’t see.
Trusting God when you don’t understand isn’t always easy, but with God’s help, it is possible. We can surrender our control and place our trust in a God who is always in control and who will never leave us. But how do we do that? Trusting God in difficult times?
Why do I have a hard time trusting God?
Looking back, I had a hard time trusting God precisely because I didn’t understand what was going on.
- If God was a loving God, why would I be in such a lousy situation? Why would so many things go wrong at once?
- If God worked all things for the good of those who loved Him, why couldn’t I see the good in my situation?
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Trusting God in difficult times is… well, difficult. But not impossible!
So, if you wonder “Why do I have a hard time trusting God?”, know that you are not the only person on Earth having that difficulty. So you don’t need to feel guilty about it.
Often, our difficulty in trusting God is rooted in a lack of understanding of who He is and how much He loves us. We may not understand why certain things happen, but God’s love for us is never in question.
In addition, our difficulty in trusting God may be rooted in our own need for control. We want to be in control of our own lives and our own destiny. We feel like we know best and that God’s plan is not what we would choose.
Finally, our difficulty in trusting God may be rooted in our fear of the unknown. We may be scared of the unknown and uncertain of what will happen. We can fear the outcome and the journey that will take us there.
However, we need to remember that God is in control and that He knows what is best for us. He has a plan for us and He will never leave us. We can trust Him to take care of us, no matter what. Even if it is difficult.
What to do when you don’t understand what God is doing
When you scratch your head and feel utterly clueless about what God is up to, don’t worry, you’re not alone! It happens to all of us. We’ll explore how to handle this challenge comfortingly. The Bible tells us not to worry (easier said than done, though).
We’ll find some ways to deal with the uncertainty, regain faith, and keep our cool while life throws us those big mysterious curveballs. So, take a deep breath, stay positive, and let’s figure this out together!
Here are 4 steps to trusting god completely that I took that can help you with trusting God when you don’t understand.
Step 1: Remember
The first thing I did was remind myself that God is always good… and while it felt like my world was falling apart, that it was only a light and momentary issue (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The truth was that my husband was going to get a rental car and meet me where I was just after the weekend. So while our weekend plans were shot, I wasn’t going to be alone forever. Even though I was hurting from losing my grandmother, I knew life wasn’t really coming to an end. God would get me through it. It was hard, but it was temporary.
God is good in our ups and our downs, when we are on the top of the mountain and when we are in the valley. He is good. Reminding ourselves of this helps us to trust God when we don’t understand. Remember, God is good, and He is in control.
Step 2: Believe
The next thing to do is believe. This might sound repetitive compared to reminding ourselves. But this second step I took towards trusting God in difficult times is to believe the truth about the situation.
I couldn’t see how God could use my situation for good, but I could still trust that He would. This is a lot harder than simply remembering. It put my faith to the test. Believing is more than just reminding ourselves of the truth of God’s Word. When we believe it for ourselves, we put God’s Word at work. It’s faith in action.
Step 3: Confess
Next, I had to confess my anxiety to God. The truth was that I wasn’t trusting God to handle the situation and was trying to control it. I had to repent of my lack of faith.
Whenever I find myself in a situation like this, I pray in accordance with Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!” That was the prayer of a father who asked Jesus to heal his son “if He could.” When I find myself in situations which I know God can handle but I just don’t see how, that’s what I pray.
Confessing our unbelief is a major step toward trusting God in difficult situations. When our minds bombard all kinds of things to us, and we believe the negative thoughts, we can confess to God and ask for his help.
Step 4: Surrender
After confessing, I needed to give complete control to God, even though I didn’t understand what He was doing or going to do. I surrendered everything to Him—the things I understood and the things I didn’t understand.
These four steps help you go from trusting God somewhat to trusting God completely, even when you don’t understand, making it easier for you to have faith in what He does.
How do you trust God even when it doesn’t make sense?
I couldn’t see how God could work in my situation, but I know He never left my side. And He hasn’t left your side either. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you can trust that God is with you and has it under control.
Trusting God doesn’t always make sense to us, but that’s where faith comes in. We can have faith, trusting God when you don’t understand. It won’t always be easy, but by faith, we can trust in Him.
Here are some things to help you trust God, even when it doesn’t make sense:
- Pray: Pray and talk to God about your situation. Ask Him to help you understand and trust Him.
- Read the Bible: Read scriptures that remind you of God’s love and faithfulness.
- Talk to a friend: Talk to a friend or mentor that you trust and that has a strong faith. They can offer you words of encouragement and help you remember that God is always in control.
- Take a step of faith: Even if you don’t understand, take a step of faith in the direction that God is leading you.
- Remember God knows best: Even if you can’t understand why things are happening, remember that God knows best and that He has a plan for your life.
How do I trust God with all my heart?
So how do we do it?
How do we trust God with all our hearts?
There really isn’t an easy answer to that question because it really comes down to faith. It’s about believing in Him and knowing that He is good and that He has our best interests at heart.
Here are some practical steps you can take to help you in your journey of trusting God with all your heart.
- Read the Bible: Reading the Bible for yourself, is a great way to increase our faith and trust in God. It reminds us of His promises and His faithfulness.
- Pray: Prayer helps us to focus on God and to talk to Him about our worries and fears. It’s a great way to hand over our worries and trust Him with them.
- Talk to other believers: Talking to other believers who have strong faith can help to encourage us and remind us of the truth.
- Spend time in nature: Taking a walk or spending time in nature can help us to refocus on God and to remember His faithfulness.
- Remember God’s promises: Reminding ourselves of God’s promises helps us to trust Him and to remember that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Steps to trusting God completely
If you’re struggling to trust God with all your heart, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions.
Question #1: Do you believe God is who He says He is?
The Bible has a lot to say about who God is. Reading those Scriptures helps us focus on Him instead of our difficulties, making it easier to trust Him completely, even if we don’t understand. It helps us keep our eyes on Jesus instead of the storm.
Here are just a few characteristics of the God we serve:
- God is love (1 John 4:8)
- God is the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13)
- God is faithful (Deuteronomy 32:4)
- God is the creator of all (Colossians 1:16)
- God is merciful (Deuteronomy 4:31)
- God is good (Psalm 34:8)
- God is our stronghold in times of trouble (Psalm 27:1)
And so much more. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. And He is for us (Romans 8:31). This brings me to the second question we need to ask ourselves…
Question #2: Do you believe God will do what He says He’ll do?
If we believe God is who He says He is, we also have to believe He will do what He says He will do. For instance…
- He will give us strength (Isaiah 41:10)
- He will be with us (Deuteronomy 31:8)
- He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28)
- He will fight for us (Exodus 14:14)
- He will work all things for our good (Romans 8:28)
And so much more. When we believe God will do these things for us, we can trust Him deep down in our souls. Even when bad things happen. We can trust God even when we don’t understand why things are happening the way they are happening.
Answering these two questions will help you look into your heart to see whether you really trust in God.
Sometimes, going through situations that are out of our control helps build our faith. James said it this way:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”James 1:2-3 (ESV)
Counting my trials as joy isn’t the first thing on my to-do list. However, God can use situations we don’t understand to grow our faith in Him. Because when we can’t lean on our own understanding, we can always lean on Jesus.
Prayer for understanding and strength
Father God, thank You for Your love for me. Thank You for being my strength when I am weak. Thank You for being trustworthy. Help me trust You when things spiral out of my control. Remind me of who You are. Help me trust You deep down in my soul, even when I don’t understand what’s going on around me. Give me the strength to lean into You and trust Your spirit to get me through. In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.
GUEST AUTHOR: HEATHER HART
Heather is an award-winning author and member of the Association of Biblical Counselors. Her latest book (2023) is “Candid Moments: God is Good, Even When The Struggle is Real“.
God has given her a heart for ministering to women of all ages; helping them grow in their walk with Christ. Her goal isn’t to tell others how to do more, be better, or achieve perfection, it’s to point them to Jesus.
You can connect with her online at AuthorHeatherHart.com.