Trusting God Even When Things Don’t Make Sense (2021 Guide)

Do you struggle with trusting God?

I do. I think everyone does at some point or another. Because let’s be honest: life can be really hard. It has its and downs.

In this guide, we’re going to learn ways to grow in trusting God. We’ll walk through:

  • 5 powerful strategies from the Bible
  • 19 verses you can turn to when you feel overwhelmed
  • 20 powerful reasons you can rely on God when things get difficult

What Does It Mean To Trust God?

If you trust God, you believe that He is in control of everything in the world and your life despite your circumstances.

Trusting God goes beyond feelings. Rather, it means that you trust in both his character and his promises. You believe that he is good and that he loves you. You believe that he will fulfill all the promises he has made to you in the Bible. Rather than trusting in your own senses and ideas, you believe in God and his word.

How Do You Trust God In All Circumstances?

It’s one thing to know what it means to trust in God. It’s something else altogether to actually trust God in every circumstance. Here are some strategies that can help

1. Lean Not On My Own Understanding

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

When I’m overwhelmed, burdened, and battered by life, I’m tempted to trust in myself rather than trust in the Lord The unfortunate reality is that sinful self-sufficiency is hardwired into me.

I’m tempted to believe that if I can devise the right strategy and make smart moves, I can get through life on my own. By my wit and grit.

Of course, this is utter nonsense. I’m not smart enough to navigate the dangerous shoals of life. I don’t have the strength or the wisdom to successfully weave through the minefields that I encounter.

Rather, the Bible says that I am to trust God with all my heart and to not lean one iota on my own understanding. When I’m tempted to fear and doubt and worry, God calls me to jettison my own understanding of the situation and trust him entirely.

The simple reality is that I don’t know all the glorious things God is doing in and through my circumstances. I have to learn to trust that God is at work every day, doing good even when I can’t see it.

I love how John Piper puts it:

God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them…Not only may you see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in your life; the part you do see may make no sense to you.

Things might not make sense to me, but God knows exactly what he’s doing. Trusting God starts with not leaning on my own understanding and being able to trust God with ALL my heart.

2. Run To The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

What a sweet, sweet promise this is. I love how honest God’s word is. It clearly acknowledges that there will be times of need. There will be times when I’ll be brought low.

Brokenhearted.

In tears.

Feeling absolutely bewildered by everything going on around me.

Scripture never makes it seem like life is all roses and peanut butter cups. The Bible fully acknowledges that there are times when life just plain stinks.

And it also tells us exactly what to do in those times. When life is hard and circumstances are bewildering and trusting God seems impossible, I am to run to the throne of grace.

There I will find Jesus, ready to give me exactly what I need. He too endured hardship and heartbreak and suffering, and because of this, he can give me grace when I experience the same things.

When I’m struggling to trust God, he invites me to run to him for sustaining grace.

3. Remember God’s Character

Lamentations 3:21-23 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

How do I grow in trusting God ? By actively calling to mind God’s faithful, steadfast character. This passage in particular encourages me to call three specific things to mind on a regular basis:

  • The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
  • The mercies of the Lord never come to end and are new every morning
  • Great is God’s faithfulness

The glorious alchemy of God’s steadfastness, faithfulness, and constant mercy compel me to trust God. How could I not trust God if His love for me is never fluctuating and always steadfast?

How could I doubt a God who has fresh mercies for me every morning?

How could I question a God who is unfailingly, unflaggingly faithful every day?

But here’s the thing. If I’m going to succeed in trusting God, I must actively, constantly call these truths about God to mind. It’s not enough to just know them, like I know that 2 + 2 = 4 and that kale tastes gross. I must engage my mind with these truths.

When I call to mind God’s character, I’m able to trust God even when things don’t make sense.

As Charles Spurgeon said:

Let us lean on God with all our weight. Let us throw ourselves on his faithfulness as we do on our beds, bringing all our weariness to his dear rest

4. Recall God’s Past Faithfulness

Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

This verse is a glorious reminder that God is absolutely unchanging. From everlasting to everlasting, he is God. He never shifts, never changes, never fluctuates.

Now, what does this have to do with trusting God?

Simply this…

If God never changes, and he has been faithful to me in the past, then I can be absolutely sure that he will be faithful to me in the future.

And God most certainly has been faithful to me in the past. He has sustained me through heartbreak, crippling anxiety, insufferable depression, overwhelming doubts, broken relationships, and a thousand other trials, toils, and snares. From the moment I was born, God has been faithful to me.

Because God never changes, his past faithfulness is a guarantee of future faithfulness. I can be sure that God will continue to sustain me, continue to uphold me, continue to shepherd me to green pastures.

I’m reminded of the verse in the song “He Will Hold Me Fast,” which says:

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast; When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast. I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path; For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

Yes, God has indeed held me fast, and he will continue to hold me fast. For this reason, trusting God in the midst of trials is truly possible.

5. Pray For Faith

Philippians 4:5-6 says, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Ultimately, trusting God is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even if I know all the truths above, the Holy Spirit must empower me to take hold of them by faith.

To believe them even when circumstances would say otherwise.

To not lean on my own understanding.

I need the Holy Spirit to move these glorious truths from my head to my heart. If that doesn’t happen, trusting God will be impossible for me.

And so I must consistently, constantly pray that God would enable me to trust him. That God would help me believe his promises and trust him even when life doesn’t make sense. That he would help me to wait patiently for him.

The simple, yet profound truth is that I can do nothing (including trust God) apart from God.

As Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Yes, I am called to actively put my trust in God. I must work at trusting God. At the same time, God must empower me to obey. And so I pray and then I obey.

6. Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

In his outstanding book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts Jerry Bridges says:

God’s plan and His ways of working out His plan are frequently beyond our ability to fathom and understand. We must learn to trust when we don’t understand.

To me, this seems to be at the heart of trusting God. The simple reality is that most of the time, I have only a very small grasp of what God is truly doing in my life.

And yet, because I know that he’s good and faithful and steadfast and ready to give me grace, I can trust him with my whole heart. I can trust Him in all circumstances, no what matter what I’m going through.

Or as Charles Spurgeon put it:

God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.

19 Bible Verses About Trusting God

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Psalm 40:4 – How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

1 Corinthians 2:5 – So that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

2 Samuel 22:31 – As for God, His way is blameless, The word of the Lord is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Proverbs 3:6 – In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 146:3 – Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.

Psalm 40:5 – Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.

Deuteronomy 1:32 – But for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God.

Romans 15:13 – Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Psalm 91:2 – I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”

Psalm 106:13 – They quickly forgot His works, They did not wait for His counsel.

Psalm 73:28 – But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.

Psalm 118:8 – It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

20 Powerful Reasons To Trust God

1. God’s Word Is Absolutely and Completely True

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17).

There is not one single part of God’s word that is not the absolute and complete truth. His word is not 90% true or 95% true or 99% true.

If even one sentence were not true we would not be able to trust it. If even 1% were not true, we wouldn’t know which parts to believe.

We hope in the Lord because His word is true.

2. He Does Not Lie

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19)

Human beings lie. Sadly, even Christians lie at times. But the Lord is absolutely and infinitely holy. He cannot lie and he does not lie.

Satan tries to make us question the Lord’s truthfulness. So the question is always, what am I going to believe – my eyes, my feelings, my own assessment of things, or His word? The Lord does not lie and never has lied.

3. He Never Changes In His Being

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

We change. We change physically as we grow from babies to children to teens to adults. We change in our tastes and preferences over the years.

But the Lord never changes in his being. He is the same today as he has been for all eternity.

We can rely on Him because He never changes.

3. He Never Changes His Mind

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19)

Because the Lord never changes, he never changes his mind. He doesn’t say, “Well, I know that I said people should honor their parents, but the world has changed. People don’t have to do that any more.”

No. The Lord never changes his mind, and because of this, we can put our faith in Him.

5. He Never Changes His Plans or Purposes

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

The Father doesn’t start off with one plan for the world then change it if things don’t go right. And he has purposes for you and me which he will absolutely fulfill.

He will fulfill his purpose for us, even though we will fail at times. He will fulfill his purpose for us even when we don’t know what that purpose is.

His great purpose is to make us like Christ and glorify Christ through us, and despite our many weaknesses he will certainly fulfill that purpose.

6. He Has Never Failed to Fulfill His Word

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11). 

God fulfilled every single promise he made to the Israelites. He brought them out of slavery and into the promised land. He subdued all their enemies. Not one of his good promises failed.

And I have seen him fulfill many of his good promises in my lifetime. And I’m still asking him to fulfill promises. Even if I don’t see them in this life, I know that in heaven I will see how he has done every single thing he has promised.

Because he has never failed to fulfill his word, we can trust in Him.

7. He Is Sovereign Over All Things

“You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you (2 Chronicles 20:6).

We can make promises, then circumstances may stop us from keeping them. I might promise to pick you up at 1:00, then get a flat tire on my way to your house. We can make promises, then something else comes up to keep us from keeping our word.

But nothing can stop the King of Kings. He is sovereign over every molecule in the universe. He is sovereign over the angels of heaven and every demon.

Satan and all his minions together can’t prevent Him from saving people, providing for us and fulfilling his plans for us.

Because He is all-powerful, nothing can stop him from fulfilling his promises.

8. He Is Infinitely Wise

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)

It would be a scary universe if our King were not infinitely wise. But because he is, he knows what is best to do in every situation.

Because he is infinitely wise, his promises are perfect. Because he is infinitely wise, everything he has said is true and perfect and best for us.

9. He Is Faithful

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

What a wonderful truth. We can stake our lives upon his faithfulness.

He will never disappoint us because he is faithful. He will never forget to fulfill his every good promise in the Bible.

10. He Is Infinitely Loving

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).

Again, what a scary universe this would be if Jesus were not loving. But because he is, we can trust him. We can trust that every single thing he does in our lives, he does and allows and works to our good because he loves us.

11. He Gave His Son For Us

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

The fact that God gave his most precious gift to us is the ultimate proof of his love. If he gave us the most precious gift he could give us, will he not give us every other good thing?

Because our Father gave Jesus to pay for our sins and give us eternal life, we can rely on him.

12. He Is Completely Just

The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate (Job 37:23). 

If I had to go to court before a judge who had a reputation for being unjust I would be terrified. But our King is infinitely and totally just. He is righteous.

He always does the right thing. He will never do anything unjust. He is The Rock – all his ways are justice. He is “without iniquity,” without sin. He never does anything wrong.

Therefore we can trust him all the time, even when things are difficult.

13. He Has Wonderful Plans For His People

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

What a wonderful reason to trust our Father! He has bags and bags of grace stored up for us, that he is just waiting to pour out on us.

He has good plans for us, plans which nothing can stop him from fulfilling. So we can always rely on him.

14. He Will Make You Like Christ

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

In the Bible, we learn that not only does he have good plans for us, but his great plan is to conform us to Christ.

Yes, he has plans to provide for us and protect us, but what could be more encouraging than knowing He is making us into the likeness of his Son, and that every single thing we go through is part of that plan?

Trust him that he is doing that right now in your life.

15. He Is Infinitely Good

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8)

Because his being and character is infinitely good, every single thing he does is good. What a rock-solid quality to put our trust in.

Because He is good, we can take refuge in him. We will won’t ever be disappointed.

16. He Is Always Good To His Children

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

Not only is he infinitely good, but he is our loving heavenly Father and we are his children. Most earthly fathers want to be good to their children, though even the best fathers fail at times.

But our heavenly Father never fails to do good to his children. He will give us every good thing and do everything that is good for us. Therefore we can trust him.

17. He Won’t Leave You

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Another reason to trust him! He never takes a break. He never forsakes us, never says, “Hang on, I’ll be back in 10 minutes.” No. He is with us 24/7. Every day of our lives. Therefore we can trust him.

18. He Cares For You

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

He isn’t up there, looking down on us, detached, uninvolved. No! He cares for us. Deeply. Jesus is a sympathetic high priest. God is filled with compassion for us. Therefore we can trust him.

19. He Will Never Let You Go

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22). 

What a rock-solid Bible promise. He won’t let the righteous be moved. He upholds us and keeps us.

Let the storms of life come. They can never loose his grip on us. Therefore we can trust him.

20. He Is With You

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Are you walking in darkness right now? Are you walking through a storm, passing through a fiery trial.

In the Bible, he has promised: “I will be with you.” He is with us wherever we go, whatever we go through. Therefore we can trust him.


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38 thoughts on “Trusting God Even When Things Don’t Make Sense (2021 Guide)”

  1. Pray for my friend who is suffering terrible emotional and relational pain right now. Thank you and God bless you and your ministry.

    Reply
  2. Stephen, Recently a dear friend was experiencing a major crisis in his life and I shared my “go to” verses with him three of which you quote in this article. He is back on track trusting in the Lord. I have been receiving your email for a while now and enjoy and share them with my brothers. Thank you. You touch more lives than you know. May God give you your hearts desire.

    Reply
  3. Thank you Stephen! Learning to trust God through the power of the Holy Spirit is truly insightful. You are sounding more like your wise Father, Mr. Mark, every day! Thanks again.

    Reply
  4. Life seems upsidedown for me presently but I trusting God for everything. This article is even grounding me more…because I can do nothing in this challenging world without God. Lord, please give me the grace to trust you for everything.

    Reply
  5. Thank God for your life and mandate, I’m still a work in progress and I trust that I’ll fully learn how to trust God always.

    Reply
  6. I thank God for this its helpful. I am presently struggling with fear, anxiety and worry while living alone. Its been everyday struggle. Please pray for me.

    Reply
  7. Thank you so much for the reminder to “not lean on our own understanding.” All too often it’s also the understanding of others too, and their understanding of a situation is under the same command….don’t lean on it. Trusting God isn’t blind. I like to call these trying times “Red Sea Moments”. Can anything be more dire that being backed up against the Red Sea with the worlds mightiest army charging at you. Moses’ understanding would have undoubtedly been grim, but he didn’t rely on that. He trusted God.

    Reply
  8. This article has brought much relief to my broken spirit. Thank God for using you to touch and heal lives. God bless you Stephen

    Reply
  9. My wife and I became Christian’s about 4 months ago. we didn’t know about spiritual warfare,but we learned very fast. Doing battle and getting stronger ?.in God everyday. Eye opening experience

    Reply
  10. Awesome….God…He is truly amazing! I has a son that was murdered on Christmas eve several years ago…that was when I found, I could truly trust God. I ate, slept and breath Jesus. Finding that true friend that would see me through. He gave me peace in the midst of heartache and despair. He showed me how precious life really is and under no circumstances should life be taken for granted. I found a love like no other…a friend until the end and a part from Him, I was nothing…but He made me whole, as he kept me on the vine pruning and purging those things that separated me from Him and his love.

    Reply
  11. How do you keep trusting God when he has failed you in every way in the past? When you run to Him and he only supplies more pain and rejection? When His working in 10k ways is only to make your life more of a living Hell? I ask sincerely because I held on for 26 years trusting God would finally do anything good in my life but He has only proven how much He must truly hate me to force this life on me.

    Reply
    • Ann, Obviously I don’t know the situation(s) you refer to but I do know that God does not hate you. My question to you would be in that who are you seeking counsel from? Who is helping you make decisions and walking in life with you through the workings and outcomes of those decisions? Jesus did not go to the cross to make your life hell, he did so to release you from it. While this in no way means that life is easy or always blessed, it does mean that our internal realities may be greatly altered to rise above the external circumstance. My prayer for you is that you will obtain that.

      Reply
  12. I needed to hear and read this today… I was searching on how to trust God when everything or a situation is not changing… the way I would like… it WAS killing me… but after reading this just now, I can honestly say I feel so much better… I knew the truth, but believing in the midst of depression, anxiety, and turmoil is large task… my son is severely depressed and I am so anxious about this and his future and mine too with him. Thank you for this work, I will continue to re-read it daily.

    Reply
  13. i have never felt as good as i do now yes god has done many things in life that we think is terrible like letting family members pass pets pass trees fall so close to you your life flashes before your eyes but we must always trust him for he has a greater plan for all of us yes many people are hurt but god gave humans a choice between him and satan right and wrong and we all chose lots of us are still choosing so ann and all of you that are doubting right now look to god especially in hard times doubt is what satan uses to bring us down hope and faith and courage is what God uses to bring us up

    Reply
  14. I’m so broken that even my faith in God has been really shaky but thank God for his word of hope today. I lost my mum March 4th and on April 5th, I lost my job. My husband lost his job in June and everything has been really down. All we need right now is prayers for God’s mercy and timely intervemtion because I know he sees everything.
    Thank you for reaching out through God’s word.

    Reply
  15. Thank God for your article. I am encourage to continue to trust God in dealing with a fractured relationship. It has been a long battled, and not seeing results, but I’m able to recall past faithfulness. God has brought me through so much in my life. He is God from everlasting to everlasting!

    Reply
  16. It’s very helpful website. I’ve found it accidently; but I believe it’s led by the Holy Spirit. God may bless you and this ministry. Thanks

    Reply

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