How to Finally Trust God in Difficult Times
Is it hard for you to trust God in difficult times? Frankly, trust does not come easily for most of us, especially when we are asked to believe in something we can’t see. But that is exactly what God requires us to do, even when it doesn’t make sense-at all.
In fact, the Bible says to count it all joy when we have a trial (James 1:2-4).
Trust AND joy. That is a lot to ask of a person.
In a time of suffering, I asked God to help me understand why He would ask us to rejoice in sorrow and pain. It seemed almost mean to me. In His sovereignty, He gave me a word picture to help explain things from His perspective.
Strangely, He answered through a squash plant. Weird, I know.
In this post, I am going to help you understand why you can trust God in difficult times. By the end of the story, maybe you will finally understand why our trials are worth it. Perhaps even a reason to rejoice.
I also hope to help you realize God is not that mean man in the sky with a lightning bolt, waiting to zap you.
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The Squash Plant
Last week my sister thought she would gross me out by texting a picture of a squash vine borer. She gave me all the gory details about how she was cutting them out of her squash plant. Sadly, they were eating her vines.
After I got over the initial grossness, I wanted to know more about this nasty creature in her plants.
My sister is an organic gardener, so she was more than happy to share her knowledge. What I learned is that quiet little plot of land in her backyard actually had a lot of drama going on between the dirt and sky.
Her plants told an amazing story. Ironically, a story that revealed to me why we can trust God in difficult times.
The Battle Between Good and Evil
There is a battle between good and evil taking place in my sister’s garden. You wouldn’t know it by looking, but there is a villain (squash borer), a hero ( good soil), and a king. Actually a queen.
My sister, the queen, has a blissful bond with her kingdom. She oversees her plants as a loving ruler would care for her subjects.
Carefully, she plants each seed in the soil and nurtures them. Each one is as important as the next. She watches all the plants grow and helps them to become a productive member of the kingdom, er, garden.
I like a good story.
She spends many hours watering, adding in homemade compost and doing special things to attract good insects like butterflies and bees. It is a real labor of love. She is constantly on the lookout for predators who would attack her precious plants.
(Stay with me here so you will understand why you can trust God in difficult times. It’s coming.)
Surgery on the Squash Plant
The day my sister texted the picture of that nasty squash vine borer, she was doing surgery. She noticed her squash plant would bloom, but then it would drop its flowers a day later. Unfortunately, no flower means no fruit.
My sister was confused by the behavior of this plant; it looked so healthy. It had a big root at the base, lots of growth, and the leaves were a nice green color. Most of all, the plant was enormous in size.
In fact, it was so big, it was crowding out the other plants on the trellis who were actually producing fruit. Not only that, it was sucking precious nutrients.
After a thorough inspection, she noticed a gooey mess toward the bottom of the plant.
Looking more closely, she found the enemy was a squash vine borer. It bored its way into the stalk and was eating from the inside out. Gross.
To make matters worse, it was leaving this disgusting, oozy mess that was actually the borer’s poop. This predator had an insidious tactic to destroy the plant slowly from the inside.
Since my sister has an organic garden, her choices for dealing with the problem (the enemy) were limited. She could improve the soil, do surgery/pick out the squash borers, or let it die.
Ooey Gooey Mess
My sister chose to do surgery. It was very tedious work, but necessary if she wanted to save the plant.
The surgery involved using a sharp knife to cut open the stalk. She had to dig around looking for the squash borers, using tweezers to tediously pick them out.
Then she had to kill the borers so they wouldn’t come back to eat the vine.
The surgery was messy. If you look closely, you can see the gooey mess on the utensils.
To make matters worse, it had a horrible smell when she opened up the stalk. It was not a pleasant experience but necessary to save the plant.
Five Little Monsters
My sister pulled out five squash borers in that small four-inch space. Those little monsters were destroying the whole plant quietly in a small space.
It is amazing how these little pests could do so much damage to a huge plant.
Here is one she found lurking on the ground right by the plant. See how it was camouflaged! How tricky.
Here (look below) is what the plant looked like after she cleaned it out completely. It had a big hole, but there was a better chance the squash plant would live and bear fruit.
She loved her kingdom, uh, plants, and wanted them to survive.
My sister, the queen-gardener, added more compost to the roots after she finished her surgery. She will continue to deal with the root problem in the days to come with good soil.
Healthy soil is a long-term remedy for keeping predators away.
Here is an interesting fact: When a plant is weak, it actually attracts predators to come to eat it. This is nature’s way of dealing with a sick plant. Otherwise, we would have millions of decomposing plants sitting around on the ground.
God’s Act of Love Hurts
When I looked at the squash vine borer and all the damage it was doing, I understood why my sister decided to cut the plant. It was an act of love to save the squash from being pulled up and thrown into the compost pile.
Here is the rub. This is not much different than what God does with us.
He sees when we have been infected by our enemy, Satan (squash borer). If we allow it, the Master Gardener will go in and do surgery.
The knife He uses is usually in the form of a trial. We get cut, and it hurts.
We think God is being mean to us when, in fact, He is trying to save us so one day we will produce fruit. Unfortunately, we are so blind that we don’t see we are being eaten alive by our own sins. And wallowing in our own stinky mess.
To add insult to injury, we miss the fact that Satan is lurking at our doorstep constantly waiting to do more damage. He is just like the squash borer who is camouflaged near the roots and waiting for round two.
God, in His love, is trying to clean things up and strengthen us at the roots with good soil ie. His Word.
Why We Can Trust God in Difficult Times
God wants to purify us by getting rid of the problem. He sees we are big and healthy (successful), but we are not producing any fruit because of our hidden sins. Perhaps we are even sucking the life out of others pretending to be something we are not.
And guess what? When God starts cutting, it stinks and it hurts.
Then we complain because we think God doesn’t love us. Isn’t it ironic that we don’t realize we are the ones who created the mess in the first place by allowing the sin?
Our sin is smelly and painful. Going through the refining process is an oozy, gooey mess. God, who is the Master Gardner, lovingly cuts out only enough to remedy the problem.
There may be a big hole after the sin is gone, but it is not enough to kill us. We now have a chance to live a life of faith that will produce fruit.
We can trust God in difficult times to remove whatever is hindering our growth. Otherwise, we are useless in His garden and will be pulled up and sent to the compost pile.
Do you have a few squash vine borers in your life? We all do at one time or another. There is no judging here. Let God remove them. Trust that His cutting is a good thing. And, hopefully, one day you will rejoice when it is over and you are healed from the trial.
Do You Have a Lot of Crap in Your Life?
If you have a whole lot of crap in your life, check out the post about composting–Dealing with failure. This post will help you understand that God can use anything that happens, no matter how bad it is. He has a way of turning failures into blessings if you will allow it.
How do trust God in difficult times? Share it in the comments.
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