Trust God When The Future Looks Bleak

June 9, 2014 — 19 Comments

One day, years ago, my friend’s wife died.  She was about 42 and seemed to have vibrant health.  But one night she went to sleep and never woke.  She left a wonderful husband and four great kids behind.  Before then I never witnessed a family grieve so hard.  She was a great wife, mother, and support to many and now she was gone.

Believe In The Goodness Of God

Believe In The Goodness Of God

As you can imagine, a loss like that can make your future look bleak.  I know each one of those family members had to wrestle with whether they could once again catch a vision for a hopeful tomorrow.

Every year I personally speak to scores of people who in suffering a loss or setback have begun to wonder if there will ever be a new horizon for them in their future.  They have felt so kicked while they were down, so un-favored over time, that they believe their future is bleak.

I know when I am worn down by a continuous stream of setbacks I get weary and tired.  No doubt you are the same.  Layer of hurt washes over consecutive layers of hurt to bring such a constant current of pain that your mind begins to think it will never get better.  It is like your brain accepts a new darker program of perception.

This is life’s great test of faith.

I had a friend who often would say, “Things are getting so bad, I’m about to lose my religion.”  How pathetic.

Think about it.  If your faith in God can’t sustain you through life’s trials, it isn’t a very stout faith.  If God is bigger than our problems, if he really transcends every reality, then shouldn’t our faith in him be strong enough to give us a persevering perspective over our problems and disappointments.

There are a lot of things that can drive you to think bleakly of your future…

You lose your job,

Can’t find a job,

Lose a friend,

A family member attempts suicide,

Get cheated on by a spouse or fiancée,

Struggle with chronic illness,

Endure through the ups and downs of a prodigal child,

Watch a loved one die,

Get your application rejected,

Get yourself stuck in an addiction,

Become frustrated in a loveless marriage,

Struggle with the pain of a heartbreaking divorce.

All these things and more can make your future hopes seem irreparably compromised.  God can seem distant and uninvolved.  You thought that a loving God was in the business of delivering you out of problems, but now he seems to you to be absent or literally leading you into painful difficulty.

So how do you trust God when the future looks bleak?

The writer of Proverbs tells us straight away…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The truth is “how do you trust God when the future looks bleak?” is really not a fruitful question.  It is not a matter of “how” but a matter of “that.”  It is a choice.

It is saying, I am hurt, I am disillusioned, I am frustrated and do not know how to fix things, but I am making the choice to trust in the transcendent will and divine love and perfect goodness of God.

It is a matter of not leaning “on your own understanding.”  It is about saying, I am confused in this situation, but I believe God is not in the least confounded.  It is choosing to believe that, even in the pain, God has a plan and that plan is for my good.

Paul writes in Romans, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

When my friend’s wife died, I watched him go through all the stages of grief.  But I never saw him lose his faith.  The blow he experienced could have been a tragedy over which he might have “lost his religion.”  But he didn’t.

In the months after her death I heard my friend and others in our circle say something over and over again.  It was a statement of faith, a profession of confidence in a God who understood more than our little minds ever could.  I heard people say, “This situation is terrible, but God is good.”

In saying that they changed their perspective on what initially seemed like a darker future.  They chose a perspective of faith.  They chose to believe God had a plan even in horrible brokenness and that the plan was for our good.  Not that someone passing away was good, it wasn’t.  But God had a plan to display his goodness in the midst of it all.

So have you struggled, through very real personal pain, to see a horizon in your future?  Yes?  Then you are faced with a choice—to trust or not to trust in the goodness and transcendent plans of God.

I beg you today—trust in his goodness even when your circumstances are not good.

Question: How have you found strength through a choice to trust in God’s goodness no matter what?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Greg Faulls

Posts

19 responses to Trust God When The Future Looks Bleak

  1. Dana Pustelak June 9, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Thank you for reminding each of us that. It was a word of encouragement I needed to hear this morning. May God bless you and the mighty way you serve Him.

  2. How have you found strength through a choice to trust in God’s goodness no matter what?

    13 years ago, I was at the pinnacle of wordily aspiration, or so I thought. God humbled me through several swift and decisive Life adversities where the only place I had to turn, was Him.

    Saving me through it and helping me realize that He alone was what I needed, He then began to slowly and deliberately – and still is doing so – change me, molding and shaping me and my family, to mimic Him: His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, power and love.

    I would not have been blessed with truly Knowing Him, were He not to have used adversity to humble me, accept Him and continue to be changed into His image and likeness.

    Hard lessons indeed.
    But oh so Beautiful.

  3. When I was in the depths of hopeless addiction, I received from God recovery resources which healed me. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you an stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). I am grateful.

  4. Lou Ann Bearley June 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Thank you Pastor Greg for the words my mind and heart needed to hear today. Going through 3 pretty big situations at once I too have felt like losing my religion, but after this I can face 1 of the situations tomorrow head on and with a newer outlook and know God is already there waiting for me!

    • It is amazing how powerful a “newer outlook” can be. And yes, God is “already there waiting” for you.

  5. Glenita Roberts June 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    The past ten years have been a roller coaster for me professionally. It hasn’t always been easy, and often leaves me with great uncertainty. When I am tempted to loose my faith, it always helps to look back on how God is using this situation for good. As I reflect on His blessings and activity, my faith is strengthened. He has grown me and shaped me during the season of “waiting.” That alone makes it all worth it. Keeping your focus on Him is so important.

    • Sounds like you are employing the right perspective. God guides us along pathways, at times, that are challenging (even frustrating/consider Joseph in the book of Genesis), but God has a plan and uses us along the way.

  6. Glenita Roberts June 10, 2014 at 11:52 am

    So true! I also find valuable lessons in the story of Moses and the Israelites. Their focus wasn’t on God, and they ended up missing out on what He had in store for them.

  7. Talmadge Thomas June 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Hello Professor, Happy father Day,! I enjoy your encouraging post, keep the faith, and keep up the inspiring posts, coming.

  8. Talmadge Thomas June 15, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Hello Professor, Happy Father Day! I enjoy your encouraging post, keep them coming, and keep the faith.

  9. This is one of my favorite strengthening verses, I don’t think I could farm without this trust in God. There are daily challenges that would fret a person out of his wits that this trust gives a peace and calm to the unknown that faces you daily.

  10. I am in the mist of a financial storm one thing after another. It seemed like God was angry with me. But I just believe that there is more. I don’t know what or how but there is more. God said all is well. I believe him. I am taking my hand off of the wheel

    • Hi Latondra – You really warmed my heart with your words! Like you, I am in a similar situation. I’ve been out of work for one year but, somehow have made it. As time passes it becomes increasingly difficult to manage all the financial responsibilities. I chose faith and, I am doing the same as you, I am taking my hand off the wheel! Because somehow, someway everything is going to work in our favor.

      Be blessed.

  11. I pray and pray to God, but nothing happens. What do I do?

    • The question I would have for you is this, “Is it that nothing is happening, or simply that what you are specifically praying for and expecting has not happened?” God does not always answer in the way you ask. Sometimes he has a very different will that is designed for your ultimate good, even if you cannot recognize it. Look around for the evidence that God is caring for you and providing for you along this difficult journey.

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