How Do I Trust God When It Seems He Didn’t Come Through?
Trust is like a staff you can lean on as you journey uphill with Me.
If you are trusting in Me consistently,
the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed.
Jesus Calling, January 22
How do I trust God when it seems He didn’t come through?
Have you ever asked this question, especially after a year like 2020? Surely we all have, because life is tough and unpredictable and rarely happens the way we plan. It’s likely you’ve prayed to change something that painfully remained the same. After pleading, even begging, still it seemed that silence was Heaven’s response.
Fighting fear and hopelessness
In this imperfect world, sometimes the rumble of pain moves through us like an earthquake. And our experience can violently oppose the truth we built our life upon. Maybe it was when you lost your job or were served divorce papers. For me, it was when my eleven-month-old daughter, Haven, was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer. Fighting through fear and hopelessness, I questioned why a good God allowed this to happen. Yet there, beneath it all, remained His still, quiet voice whispering for me to trust Jesus.
During that excruciating ten-month, battle-filled journey, God never left my side. But even in His faithfulness, the outcome wasn’t what we prayed for. Haven took her final breath in my arms.
God doesn’t always do what we expect
God, in His wisdom, doesn’t always do what we expect Him to do. So, the idea of trusting Him can be frightening, especially when the ground beneath us gives way and the hands that hold us are the same hands that allowed it to quake. It’s challenging to navigate the confusion of a loving God allowing pain. And not just any pain, but the kind that knocks the wind from your lungs and makes you wonder if you’ll ever breathe again.
I fought to believe that He is always trustworthy. See, it wasn’t just her death that made me question. It was also the fact that for ten months we quoted scripture, worshipped, and prayed for her healing. I’m talking Bible in hand, on our face, around the clock intense focus. That’s roughly 429,120 minutes of spiritual warfare. And yet, after all that, it didn’t end the way I asked.
But it doesn’t have to be as devastating as losing a child to feel that God hasn’t come through for you. It can be as simple as unfulfilled dreams. When we expect things to be different, and then they aren’t, we’re left with a decision to make, even if unconsciously:
Will we move forward with God by trusting Him? Or stay stuck in our pain, questions and disappointment?
Are we more connected to our pain or God?
In this volatile place of unmet expectations, we can become one with our disappointment and take its name as our identity: loss, divorce, infertility. We feel more connected with these words than we do with the hope that lies in the future God promises in Jeremiah 29:11.
If we have the desire to get out of our “stuckness,” here’s what we need to know: trusting God is the only way forward. This may seem like an oversimplified answer to life that is messy, hurtful, and complicated. But to follow Him, we have to trust Him even when we don’t understand Him.
Too often, in hopes of finding some assurance in the uncertainty of life, we attempt to force-fit the God of the universe into tidy boxes small enough for our finite minds to comprehend. We attempt to domesticate God—to make Him tamer, predictable, obedient to our desires. But doing this strips away the very mystery and wonder about Him that brings us peace and security. I’m thankful God isn’t obedient to me because my vision is shortsighted. Yet He intricately knows the good plans He has in store for each of us and makes His decisions accordingly.
This pain is not your end
If we turn our attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we may hear the tender words like a whisper in our ear, “This pain is not your end. Keep following Me, and I’ll lead you to good places. Trust Me.”
The voice we listen to in pain determines our destination. Will we incline our ear to the enemy’s lies or to God’s voice as He guides us forward toward His promises? Will we trail behind, allowing pain to settle us in an emotional and spiritual climate that isn’t conducive for growth? The outcome of our life’s journey hinges on our choices. And the Holy Spirit is near to help us make the right ones.
When it’s hard to reconcile pain and a good God, we must remember that the Christian life is a paradox, isn’t it? A binary existence. Grief from one’s pain and joy from Christ’s redemption. The natural and supernatural. Mortal and immortal. Dance partners until the day we enter heaven. This is the goodness of God. We are promised that the negative side of life, the things we don’t understand, will be met with His presence. His joy colliding with weeping. The morning colliding with night. Grace colliding with ache. If we hold tight to His lead as we’re navigating the dark, He’ll help us to trust His steps.
Stacy Henagan is a passionate pastor, speaker, author and annual women’s conference host. With more than twenty-six years of people-building experience, Stacy’s weekly teachings offer inspiring biblical truth and practical application. Stacy and her husband, Casey, are the founders of Keypoint Church in Northwest Arkansas. They have four children: Haven, who they anxiously await to see again in heaven, Holland, Hayes, and Hudson.
You can find her book, Breathe Again, and related resources on her website at stacyhenagan.com.
12 thoughts on “How Do I Trust God When It Seems He Didn’t Come Through?”
Wow, in all the pain and all the unexpected unplanned interruptions, God is there. This is an encouragement to keep our focus and Faith in Christ Jesus. He is our ALL in ALL.
I’m walking through widowhood and a pandemic
Praying for a new place to begin agsin
But the answer is wait for the lord
Thankyou for sharing
I needed this teaching today. I know God is always there. To read the words reminded me to be patient. God has got this. Rest in Him. Amen.
Your post came on 22 anniversary of my son Adam’s death. He was two and half and though born with a heart condition that required several open heart surgeries, we had every hope after fervent ongoing prayers that Adam would be a living testimony of God’s healing here on earth and it seemed God’s plan until it was not.
The dance is real and my heart still holds tight to the One who knows the steps through the valley of the shadow, who continues to hold me, breathing life-giving hope and bringing beauty from ashes as we go.
Thank you for sharing your story and pointing us to our Healer, Jesus.
Absolutely beautiful and profound.
Thank you for sharing…
Thank You for Sharing such a Heartfelt Story, Yes R.I.H. Haven. I Thank God For You,People whonhas Reached this Point in Their Lives So Need this Inspiration in Their Life’s. May You and Family Continue to Soak In God’s Love! and May Haven Continue to Shine Through Each One of YOU!! Again Thanks and God Bless You and Family.
Thank you for an encouraging message on not defining ourselves by our circumstances. That is so easy to do but that is satan’s plan every morning. What a joy to see you are a Pastor just a few miles from me. I attend FBC Rogers.
I’ll be reading this over again to soak up what your saying. I’m praying everyday for Gods guidance and still don’t feel anything. I lost my 47 year old daughter to cancer in August. After 3 years of constant contact with God asking for healing I want to breathe again
Belinda, I understand your pain. But hang on tight, God is caring us. We have to believe this or we have nothing. We must trust without limitation. I lost my dad three years ago, very quickly to cancer. I lost my mom to Covid last year, and 10 weeks later I lost my younger brother to cancer. I have good days and bad days but I would’ve never made it this far without the Hand of God. Some days I feel Him and some days I don’t. But if I don’t have hope I have nothing. Like you, I want to breathe again, live again, dry my tears. God took my whole family, something I don’t understand but in His plan everything is perfect. I choose to believe this, otherwise I have nothing. I wish for you a peaceful heart. Hand your sorrows over to God, He will carry them for you.
I never post things like this and I’m not good with words but your story touched my heart and I wanted you to know you’re not alone. God bless.
Heartfelt condolences for your loss. May Haven’s soul rest in eternal peace. Thank you for sharing. The solace we have and what makes us different as saints, is that we hold onto the promises of God during our trials and tribulations. United in prayer.
gracias infinitas bendiciones los encontre en mi vida a tiempo necesitaba cada palabra .