Many people are wondering how to trust God when life is hard and they feel anxious.
Frankly, trust does not come easily for most of us, especially when you’re suffering But that is exactly what God asks us to do. He asks us to believe His Word and trust Him in the midst of our suffering, even when it looks grim.
This is a big leap of faith for some of us (Me included.) That is why I asked God to show me how He sees things from His perspective. Maybe I would trust Him more if my thoughts were closer to His thoughts.
Oddly, God answered me through a squash plant.
Weird, I know.
In this post, I am going to help you see how to trust God when life is hard.
By the end of the post, you may finally understand why hard things happen, even to Christians. I will be using a word picture to illustrate the idea.
More importantly, you may realize your suffering is not as bad as it seems when you have the 40, 000-foot view.
How Do You Trust God When Life Gets Hard?
It takes a strong person to know how to trust God when life is hard. Instead, most people ask, “Why me?” Or even blame God because He appears to be mean or even cruel.
Let me answer with a word picture. It may give you a better perspective from God’s point of view. I know I am not God but just go with me here.
Not too long ago, my sister texted a picture of a nasty squash vine borer; she was doing surgery to remove the bugs. Days earlier, she noticed her squash plant would bloom, but then it would drop its flowers.
Unfortunately, no flowers meant no fruit. Can you already see the resemblance to our lives?
Flowers, but no fruit. Looking good, but something is wrong.
Oddly this plant was so big, it was crowding out the other plants on the trellis that were actually producing fruit. Not only that, but it was also sucking precious nutrients from those producing plants.
A very proud plant, indeed…
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 which was close to the root of the plant.
The “monster” was insidiously eating the plant from the inside out.
To make matters worse, it was leaving this disgusting, oozy mess that was actually the borer’s poop.
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.
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How to Trust God When Everything Is Going Wrong
So, everything was going wrong with the squash plant. It was dying. It just didn’t look like it yet. See any resemblance to your life? We are all dying without God’s hand.
My sister had to do surgery to get rid of her difficult problem (nasty bugs) because she loved her plants. She was like a mother cleaning up a dirty child who had soiled their pants.
It was very tedious work to cut open the stalk without cutting down the whole plant, but necessary if she wanted to save the plant.
The surgery involved using a sharp knife and tweezers. Once in the stalk, she had to dig around for the squash borers and pick them out one by one.
Then she had to kill the borers so they wouldn’t come back to eat the vine again. She squished them. Yuck again.
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 (borer poop) when she opened up the stalk. It was not a pleasant experience but necessary to save the plant.
She pulled out 5 borers in a four-inch span. Wow!
Here is one she found lurking on the ground right by the plant. See how it was camouflaged! How tricky. Satan, anyone?
Here (look below) is what the plant looked like after she cleaned it out completely. It had a big hole now, but there was a better chance the squash plant would live and bear fruit since the squash borers were gone.
Even with the hole, it was better off. Catching the double meaning, yet?
After surgery, my sister added more compost to the roots. 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. So is the Bible.
Here is an interesting fact: When a plant is weak, it actually attracts predators to come and eat it. This is nature’s way of dealing with sick plants.
Otherwise, we would have millions of decomposing plants sitting around on the ground that would smell and attract bugs.
How Do You Trust God When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
Trusting God when life is hard takes faith. You must have spiritual eyes to see what is not there in physical form.
Just like the plant, we can stop bearing fruit. We may be big, green, and take up lots of space, but it is all talk (pride).
In reality, the predator, Satan, has bored near the root of our hearts with sin, and we stink.
The problem is that we don’t know it. We look fine.
This is where the Master steps in and cuts out the sin.
The knife He uses is usually in the form of a trial. We get cut, and it hurts. In fact, we have a gaping hole. In turn, we are shocked, even angry.
Unfortunately, we are so blind to the calculated cuts that we don’t see his intentions. All the while we are being eaten alive by our own sins.
And wallowing in our own stinky mess just like the vine borer in its poop.
To add insult to injury, we miss the fact that Satan is lurking at our doorstep constantly waiting to attack us, just like the borer who was camouflaged near the roots.
In fact, our weakness drew him out.
From the ground, it looks like someone came in and dug a hole near the root of the plant just to destroy it. It doesn’t make sense.
We can’t see God’s love involves cutting. (The cross was the biggest cut.)
But when we look at the squash plant as a whole, we see something totally different.
It was actually an act of love (God’s infinite love) to cut into it. This was the only way to save the squash vine from being pulled up and thrown into the compost pile.
Oh, if we only had spiritual eyes to see the truth!
How to Trust God Completely?
If we can just look past the pain to the surgeon’s heart, we will see God, in His love, trying to clean us up.
We don’t realize He hurts too just like my sister did when she saw her plant wasn’t thriving.
Like a loving father, He will not stand by and let us wallow in our mess forever. He is going to clean us up even though He knows we may blame Him for doing the most compassionate thing at the time.
After I pondered this situation for a while, I finally decided that choosing to believe God and His word is how to trust God when life is hard. It’s a choice of the mind.
Furthermore, I realized many times I have judged God without all the facts because I didn’t believe He was good. Maybe to others, but not me.
The Bible says, For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (I Cor. 13:12, KJV)
Looking at it from perhaps God’s perspective, I now understand sometimes bad things happen for a good reason.
This isn’t always the case, but many times we are wallowing in sin and don’t know it.
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4 Steps to Trusting God Completely
So, how do we trust God when life is hard? When we are in the middle of a trial and feel anxious we need to remind ourselves to do these 4 things:
Go back to scripture-go to the Bible daily and constantly remind yourself of who God is and how much He loves you. You can trust the Master Gardener, God, because He is good. He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
Reflet on the past-God gave us a treasure trove of stories in the Bible, so we could see how He worked on behalf of his people long ago. These powerful testimonies remind us of a loving God who wants to do great things for us today too.
These stories are also there to help us increase our faith. He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. We must believe He can do the same for us however He chooses to move.
“And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Surrender –God wants us to surrender everything to Him. Understand that there are certain things beyond the scope of our control. Surrendering these matters to God can alleviate stress and anxiety, knowing He is guiding your path.
This is probably the hardest step. Like me, you may want to get in there and control and manipulate the situation. Instead, God asks us to lay our burdens at the cross. Let go.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Serve Others: while you are waiting on God to move, serve others. Being of help to someone else can shift your focus from your own struggles and create a sense of fulfillment.
And wouldn’t you know it, this is also one of the best remedies for anxiety.
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Look for guidance-look for ways God may be speaking to you. Truthfully, there may be days and days of waiting, until one day, He says, “Go.” Stay close to Him so you don’t miss his signals.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Remember that trusting God doesn’t mean that life’s challenges will magically disappear. It’s about truth, remembering what God had done, surrendering, and looking for guidance during your hard time.
Next time you go through a trial, remember the squash plant and trust that even though you can’t see everything, God’s surgical hand is good. He is working on your behalf because He loves you.
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Have you learned how to trust God when life is hard? Share it in the comments.
*I continue the word picture of a garden and talk about composting in the related post below. It is a great analogy for how to overcome failure or loss.
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