rebelling against low expectations

Learning to Trust God in a Devastating Circumstance


Just recently, something devastating happened to my closest friend.

She lost a lawsuit, and has been forced to pay for a wrong she didn’t commit. Even now, countless emotions are flooding through me, as a whirlwind of anger, sadness, confusion, bewilderment, and just plain shock overwhelm me. I don’t know what to do. So, I just sit here, thinking.

What I’m finding is an amazing truth: God can bring good out of even the most unjust of circumstances.

You see, these past few weeks, I’ve been falling down the road of over-spiritualizing God, if that’s even a thing.

I’ve taken what seems like every little thing as a sign or message from God. What seems like every time I needed counsel, I’d open up the Bible, find a verse, and just assume it was God’s message for my life. And if I didn’t like the message, I would just keep reading until I found something more encouraging, that I did like. I cherry-picked what I wanted, and basically ignored, or redirected the rest.

I knew what I wanted and I wanted God to support that.

Sure I wanted to serve and follow God – desperately so – but a certain part of me wanted to do things my way because, as cliché as it sounds, “It just seemed like a good idea at the time”.

So, sure enough, when my friend told me about the lawsuit, I immediately opened my Bible app and found “the verse of the day”. It was about God delivering the righteous. Perfect, I thought, and there I sent it to encourage her with this “message from God”.

I was so sure God was going to intervene. I was so sure he would say “yes” to my prayers. I even asked over four dozen people to pray for her in this situation. I thought to myself, No way God’s going to say no to this.

Well… he did. He didn’t intervene. He allowed this evil to happen. He allowed it – and I don’t know why.

But the more I think about it, the more I feel like I’m starting to understand.

Even as hard as this is, I’ve learned that God still is faithful, even in ways we don’t realize. Here, while I don’t believe he caused this to happen, I feel like he let it happen, in part, so I could learn how to trust Him. And even more than that, so I could truly understand that God isn’t some magic “8-ball” for life’s circumstances. He’s not some tool we use to win in life.

He’s our Father, the One who knows what’s best for us, and will help us through any situation, so we can grow more deeply in love with Him.

So today, I’m choosing to trust God, and let Him use me, despite my many failures and imperfections.

I’m choosing to let Him have control, even though I sometimes wrongfully feel like I should have it. I’m choosing not to care what others think of me, but to focus on honoring and serving God instead. I’m choosing to use this hard time to hopefully help others, to turn their focus to God when life gets rough.

I’m choosing to follow God, and take one day at a time. But now I’m asking you, when life gets hard… what will you choose?

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Photo courtesy of x1klima and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Trent Blake

is a 24-year-old evangelical Christian, author, and apologist. His passion is to glorify God through a life lived in light of the gospel. Trent is the editor-in-chief of and the author of Consider Christianity: Using Evidence to Examine the Religion of Jesus - a concise evangelistic tool perfect for giving away to skeptical friends and coworkers. Additionally, Trent has authored over a half dozen free e-booklets on theology and apologetics.


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  • This is such a wonderful and much needed reminder. Thanks, Trent.

    And I agree with Mallory, your last question is really good. Made me think.

  • This was an awesome reminder, Trent. I was thinking of Joseph while I was reading this. Even though he had so much wrong done to him, God eventually worked it all out for good. I absolutely love Genesis 50:20. Even when we don’t understand God’s plan we can always know He still has one. 🙂 thanks for sharing Trent

    • I hadn’t thought about Joseph during this whole thing, but now that you mention it, it really does make a ton of sense! Thanks for the really applicable reminder that even famous people in the Bible had to deal with injustice and suffering.

  • 10000% and great reference Ashley about Joseph. The only new insight I’d add here is that when we become “so confident” that God is going to act in a very specific way about these sorts of things, we are falling into a new form of temptation where we’re turning God into our own genie. Yes, Jesus does promise certain things, and the Gospel does characterize His essence, but we should not be so naive to think that just because we are asking something that it’s how His master plan works.

    Tough living in a world with so much sin, but just imagine the prize at the end of the tunnel and even so the endurance He equips us with here and now!

    • Wow yes great reminder Christos! It can be easy to fall into that trap of ‘turning God into a genie’ as you put it. We should pray as Jesus prayed ‘Not my will but Thine be done’

      Life can be tough sometimes but you’re absolutely right about the prize! I really liked your insight here Christos!

  • Wow, what a powerful article! I love when you said “Even as hard as this is, I’ve learned that God still is faithful, even in ways we don’t realize. Here, while I don’t believe he caused this to happen, I feel like he let it happen, in part, so I could learn how to trust Him.” That is exactly something He’s been teaching me over the past few months. Thank you so much for this poignant reminder!

  • Muchas veces el no saber el por qué de esto, caemos en un debate si fin. Duele, entristece, porque mas de alguno se levantara contra ti y te reprochara el ¿dónde esta tu Dios? ¿Si te ama por qué permite esto?. Pues con los años aprendí a responder el esta aquí, conmigo. En Cada momento, en cada lugar. A lo mejor no lo comprenderé hoy, quizás mañana no, pero si se que llegara un día y diré “Mmm así que por esto era todo”. Mi confianza esta puesta en él.

    • So everyone who doesn’t speak Spanish has a basic understanding of what Ms. Daniela said in her comment, this is my best understanding of what was said, in English…

      Hola, Daniela. Por favor corregir mis palabras si estoy incorrecto.

      Oftentimes, we don’t know why these things happen. And it hurts when others rise up against you, to question your faith. They say things like “Where is your God?” and “If he really loved you, why would he let this happen?”

      But over the years, I’ve learned how to answer these attacks. I may not understand why these things happen at the moment, but one day I will know, and I will understand, Hmm… So that’s why this happened! That is where I place my hope. My confidence is placed in Him.

  • Needed this!!!! I’ve been having a rough life lately (paralyzed brother in the hospital, grandparents died, bad neighborhood) and I can totally relate to the over-spiritualizing aspect. Just like in this article, I would open to a random page, read until I found something I liked, etc. I’ve been learning the hard way that that isn’t the right way to read the Bible, or the way God meant me to relate to Him.
    To add something cliche to this article; God really does have a plan for all of us. Back when I was 6 my family went through another rough spot that we are still working out of, and I can see how God used that to not only grow me and my family but to help others and prepare us for today’s trials.
    Thanks so much for writing this article! I really needed that boost today.

By Trent Blake
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →