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trust God in difficult times

How to Trust God in Difficult Times: Understanding Why Bad Things Happen

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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 asks us to do, even when it doesn’t make sense–at all.

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In a time of suffering, I asked God to help me understand why He puts us through hard times. It seemed almost cruel 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 word picture, you may finally understand why bad things happen and see it from a difficult perspective. 

RELATED: 5 Greatest Lessons You Can Learn From Suffering

How Do You Trust God When Life Is Hard?

It takes a strong person to trust God in difficult times. Instead, most people ask, “Why me?” Let me answer with a word picture. It may give you a better perspective from God’s point of view.

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.

trust God in difficult times

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, but it was also 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 insidiously eating the plant from the inside out. Gross. 

To make matters worse, it was leaving this disgusting, oozy mess that was actually the borer’s poop.

trust God in difficult times

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.

RELATED: 5 Awesome Truths When You Feel God Has Left You

Messy, Smelly Surgery On the Plant

My sister chose to do surgery the day she texted the picture. 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 (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. Wow!

trust God in difficult times


Here is one she found lurking on the ground right by the plant. See how it was camouflaged! How tricky.

 trust God in difficult times

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. trust God in difficult times

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.

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 a sick plant. Otherwise, we would have millions of decomposing plants sitting around on the ground.

RELATED: Life-Changing Family Advice for Those Hurting

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Do You Have Faith In God In Difficult Times?

So what does the squash plant have to do with how we need to trust God in difficult times?


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 vine 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 (God) 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.

Sadly, it feels like we can’t trust God in difficult times.

To add insult to injury, we miss the fact that Satan is lurking at our doorstep constantly waiting to do more damage just like the borer who was camouflaged near the roots.

God, in His love, is trying to clean things up and strengthen us at the roots with good soil (His word). After I pondered this situation for a while, I finally decided I could trust God in difficult times. In fact, I can trust the process of His plan when I look at it from His point of view.

This may help you understand why bad things happen.

RELATED: 5 Awesome Hacks to Get Rid of Self Pity Once and For All

What Does the Bible Say About Trusting God In Difficult Times?

Did you know the Bible says to count it all joy when we have a trial (James 1:2-4).

Really? Joy?

Trust AND joy. That is a lot to ask of a person. Check out these other verses about faith and trust in God:

Romans 8:28 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.

Psalms 34:17-18 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 9:9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

We can trust God in difficult times because He is good. You can clearly see this from the scriptures listed.

He wants to purify us by getting rid of the problem. Unfortunately, surgery is painful.

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?

RELATED: 15 Life-Altering Reasons For Kids to Wait Until Marriage

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.

RELATED: The 6 Best Secrets to Stop Living in Fear

How Do You Praise God In Difficult Times?

It is so hard to trust God in difficult times. Moreover, it is even more difficult to praise Him. Many times I play praise and worship music when I am going through a difficult time. It gets my mind off my problems and puts my focus on God.

I worship Him through the trial.

Another thing I do is pray. I love to pray scripture back to God  Check out this post. It will help you understand how to do this.

RELATED: War Room Prayers: 7 Powerful Prayer Strategies Using Scripture

Whatever you do, get the focus off of you and back on God. Realize He is good, and always wants to help you be the best person possible. Many times, He uses trials to make this happen.

How do you trust God in difficult times? Share it in the comments.

Got Family Problems? There is Help!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your own family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

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Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

26 thoughts on “How to Trust God in Difficult Times: Understanding Why Bad Things Happen”

  1. Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling so much as a foster parent to the point that I often want to quit. This is so encouraging. I know God is working in me and through me to make me what He wants me to be.

    1. Crystal, I am so sorry. I wrote this post when I was knee-deep in a trial with my daughter. I can now look back and say it was the best thing that ever happened. And she would say the same thing. God has a way of using the most horrible situations for good. Keep praying even though it seems like an answer is not anywhere to be found. I highly recommend The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O’Martian. My book is worn out. I used the prayers at the end of every chapter every day until I saw strongholds broken. Some of my prayers have taken years to come to fruition. You can do this! God has not left you.

  2. I love it, such profound message. A lot of things have happened recently in my life and I keep asking myself what’s the message God is trying to teach me. I keep telling myself it’s God’s way of testing me and maybe preparing me for something great to come. I know he’s watching out for me. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    1. Anna, I am so glad this was a meaningful word picture for you. I keep going back to it when I am having a difficult time with something. I know the Master Gardener loves his plants and he wants them to thrive, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when he starts cutting. I guess I would rather have some cutting than being cut down and thrown in the fire because I am useless! Thanks for your comment.

  3. What an inspirational message here! Wow! God spoke to my heart through this. I need to share it. We – as a family – have been going through “surgery” lately. Many times we don’t understand why! and we get frustrated. But then we look up and we say, okay Lord, I trust you. I know you know better. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. I am so glad God is using this post to help someone else. I never know if I am the only one getting surgery. Mentally, I have to keep going back to this word picture to understand God’s love. I am one of those that will start whining and wondering where God is in the mess.
      I will pray for grace to help you through your trials. I am so sorry you have been hit. Just know it is God’s love that will hold you through until the end.

    1. Nature speaks in ways you can hear when maybe anything directly about God is offensive. Nature certainly does reflect life in so many ways. One has to wonder who is the Designer at some point!

  4. It is amazing how all the truths are all arounds us, literally staring us in the face all the time, but we have to be willing to see it, then understand and embrace in order really learn from it. There are many simple messages, much like this one happening daily, but our lives are too busy and convoluted, to stop and see them, let alone understand or interrupt them. This is why so many of us are so lost and are easily lead astray.

  5. We must all go through hardships in order to learn and grow. Thank you so much for a wonderful post! Definitely made me think 🙂

    1. Yes, every time I start to doubt God’s love, I think about the ways He has worked in the past. His loving hand has always guided me through the terrible heartaches. He is there through the surgery.

  6. What a beautiful, although sometimes painful truth! This has been a year of paring and pruning in my life. It has been painful at times. I have been praying for God to move in one specific area. Everything else I can take, but pressed in asking God to move because I believed it was his will. Yesterday, He did! It is so worth the pruning and paring when we know that God has His best interest at heart for us. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’ll admit, I fell out of sycn when you started the analogy, even though I’m a garden lover! But I’m so glad I read this post. I absolutely have been having issues, money and house too. Thank you for the chat about trials, the Lord knows I need to reflect on His purposes in this.

    1. Thanks for staying in there with me until the end. It is a long post. I had a lot to explain! I am so sorry about your trials. I pray God will wrap His loving arms around you and you find the meaning behind the pain.

  8. Hi, it was such a blessing reading this post.. We all doubt and murmur when going through the trials without knowing that it is God’s way of showing Love to us. Thank you so So much!

    1. Sara, thank you for your comment. I am so glad it blessed you. It is hard not to murmur when trials are upon us. I have to keep reminding myself that God is love. Everything He does runs through His loving hands. He does it with the utmost care and concern. I appreciate you reading this post.

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