When You Lose Trust in God

This may sound weird, but I always cringe a little when people say, “Just give it up to God,” or “Let go and let God.” I get what they’re saying and at the 40,000 foot view it’s exactly right. But when people are in crisis, letting go and giving the pain up to God just isn’t that simple.

One of the biggest barriers is the fact that in crisis, someone may actually have lost trust in God, which makes it impossible just to turn around and give your problems to Him. Here’s why.

As Christians, most of us rightly trust God to prosper us and not harm us, and to provide and protect us. That’s what scripture says and that’s what preachers preach. So when something bad happens to us – usually someone doing something bad or even evil where we become the victim – we naturally ask why God didn’t protect us as He said He would. This is a tricky space to live in and one in which it is easy to lose trust or even blame God for our circumstances.

I think intellectually we know that this isn’t true. We know that God did not do anything to us or cause our situation, and that we are where we are because someone acted out in their free will, disobeying God’s commands and hurting us. But emotionally we say to ourselves, “Yes, but God allowed it, so He is someone I can’t trust, because He allows me to get hurt.” This may be especially true when our fallen bodies contract an illness, such as cancer.

Trust – or lack thereof – is a deal breaker. If I can’t trust someone, our entire relationship is off. When we can’t trust God, we tend to push Him out of our lives. We stop talking with Him, we stop relying on Him, we stop listening to Him, and sometimes we even feel betrayed by Him and are angry with Him.

So how do you regain trust with God when you feel as if He’s complicit in your pain?

First, you need to work through intellectually and emotionally that God did not do anything to you. Yes, He allowed something to happen, but just like He can’t take away your free will, He couldn’t take away the free will of the person who transgressed against you. Yes, it sucks, but God didn’t cause the problem, someone else did. Don’t project your pain, disappointment, and emotions against God. Instead, understand who God is in your relationship and follow his instructions to forgive the person who transgressed so that you are not a slave to that person’s actions.

If you’re struggling with the pain of a terminal illness, again understand intellectually and emotionally that this also is not God’s fault, it’s actually man’s fault! When we sinned originally, our perfect bodies became imperfect. We get diseases and die. This was not God’s plan, but happened because of our sin. This also sucks – I didn’t sin originally yet I’m stuck with a sin nature, a fallen body, and the consequences of it all. It just doesn’t seem fair, but it is what it is and it’s not God’s doing. We have to get to a place in our lives where we accept this fact.

Second, look back over your life and see where God was at various times. Write it down and see how God’s hand works in your life. I think you will see that God never abandoned you – even in the worst circumstances – and that instead He walked by your side every step of the way. If you see that, you can understand that He’s doing it now, too, even when you’re mad at Him. Nobody can every snatch you from His hand and He will always love you.

Third, it helps if you realize how much God trusts you! See, God knew you before the beginning of the world. He knew everything you would do, every sin you would commit, every knuckleheaded decision you would make yet He still created you on purpose! He trusts you to be in relationship with Him. He trusts you with your free will to make good decisions. And He trusts you that you will come to Him when you screw up and make it right. Scripture tells us that we love because God first loved us. I would propose that we can trust God because he first trusted us.

Lastly, you have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. You may be hurting so you are a little self-focused, defensive, and scared of being hurt again. But the creator of the universe – the God of the heavens and the Earth – wants to have a relationship with you! He wants to help heal you! He wants to be by your side and get you through this! Stop being a brat and go to the one person who actually can keep His promise and ease your suffering! Let’s admit it, we sometimes like wallowing in our pain. Some even like being the victim, because of all the attention they get. It’s time to grow up a bit and focus on God instead of ourselves. When our hearts are broken we need to go to the person who created our hearts. When our souls are in distress, we need to go the person who gave us our souls. But we can’t do that when we are focused on ourselves. I tell people in crisis, “Look up, don’t look down.” God is your answer not your enemy.

I hope I’m not that guy telling people to give it up to God or to let go and let God. But I do hope I’m that person telling folks that God is not the problem here, He is the solution.

5 comments

  1. I read this and it’s like a broken record. What’s sad is that I’ve given the same tired advice! And it’s tired! Come on! God is in charge. He can do anything he wants. He doesn’t have to take away someone’s free will, but he can do a better job at the helping the victims. And when I look back on my life I realize I only received his table scrapps while some of the same people who destroyed my life was given more and more gifts and power to continue their destruction! There’s so many people who have lost their faith because we can’t give them better advice than what I’m reading here and it’s the same tired advice. As Christians we must do better because I for one can see obvious flaws in the repeats of these, “God is good all the time,” words. You just have to look at the current state of the world then look at history. Heck, read the Bible without personal or organized religion biased interpretation. I’ll never say I don’t believe in God, but as someone who has lived her entire life dependant on God only to finally see at age 45 that my life is worse (and when I look back on my life and all those times I rejoiced over my “blessings” only for those exact blessings to lead me further into the hole) one gets lost. When you do your best to do what’s right and you look around you and you see so many people struggling trying to do what’s right only for the cruelty of the powerful to block them, you run out of Bible text to justify these things. And compared to many others’, my life is just complicated. Why must God allow the rest of the suffering? Your words do not justify the evils of this world growing more powerful and God doing nothing. I know you are only doing your best. That’s all we can do. But, these words are wearing thin. When one feels betrayed by God, one needs more than empty promises because it’s the empty promises that lead to the feeling of betrayal. Thank you for your time.

    1. Thanks for your heart-felt comment. Just a couple thoughts – God’s ways are not our ways so how we see things may not be how God sees them. Yes, tired old Christian dogma but still true. Also, Satan is the prince of this world so what do we expect? Our job as Christians is to shine the light of Christ in a VERY dark world, which is why we are told that our weapons are not the same as the worlds, but instead we use love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Certainly, we all fail at this! But God is good – we aren’t. God allows what He allows and I have no idea why. I actually would disagree that you run out of Bible text to justify things – God doesn’t answer to man, it’s the other way around so the Bible – God’s word – is good enough. Life can suck – if you read my bio you’ll know I’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. But, I’ve never lost my faith because I believe that God is good and He knows what He’s doing even when I don’t understand it or even agree with it.

    2. Thank you for your note! I get it. But I also know that if your honest and review the events of your life that most of what happens to us is not God’s fault but the actions of people. We suffer the consequences of our own actions. We suffer the consequences of other’s actions. Sometimes we are just innocent bystanders and get creamed! Sometimes life is a crap sandwich. Believe me, I’ve eaten my share!! But, that isn’t an indictment about God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, which means my “tired” advice is actually eternal advice. This whole thing we live isn’t about us; it’s about Jesus. Rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous alike. Our job is to keep the faith, do the work the Lord planned for us before the beginning of time, and keep our eyes on heaven. I’m not going to blow sunshine up your you-know-what; sometimes life sucks. And for some, their entire life sucks. But ask yourself this question: what does that have to do with eternity? Man has free will and uses it in rebellion to God, fighting wars, oppressing each other, harming each other and even worse! God told us plainly that when sin entered the world the entire creation fell so we live in a broken world whose “prince” is Satan himself. But again, that has nothing to do with eternity. God tells us that He will dry every eye, heal us, and perfect us in heaven. AND…in this crappy world, Jesus is the only hope we have! So, I’ll continue to be a broken record with tired advice about who God is because He’s always the same. Look, the Bible doesn’t justify anything; what it says is that men are evil, Jesus had to die to pay the penalty for their sin, and those who don’t want that free gift of grace will justice with face eternal separation from God. Not sure that elevates any of the pain you’re feeling, but I wanted to respond to your thoughts, which I very much appreciate you sharing!

  2. Roshni CdeBaca · · Reply

    I am a practicing Christian and I love God immensely. I was surfing the web to find out how to come to terms with heart breaking loss and be able to move on a trust God again as my best friend just had a still born baby recently. I have to say, your write up with all due respect has such a lack of feeling because clearly you haven’t been thru heart breaking loss. God is powerful enough to love us when we are goi g thru our angry depressed lives. We don’t need people to tell us we are being a brat and making it about ourselves coz God would never ever say that to us. He was so broken by Mary and Martha’s raw emotions when Lazarus died that he broke him back from the dead. If you have not been thru loss and cannot be more deep and thoughtful I. Your advice don’t speak about this subject please. You are not helping people in their grief find God but instead speaking words of hurt and shame on them.

    1. Roshni – I’m sorry for your suffering. Actually, though, you are wrong about what I’ve been through. I grew up in 12 different homes – my dad was in and out of jail my entire youth and my mother had MS and was bedridden for 20 years before she died. I only saw her every several years. I suffered physical and emotional abuse and neglect in my own home and foster care. Then I suffered with the results of that abuse in the form of PTSD and more. I get suffering more than most. That said, I believe in God’s healing more than I do any temporal suffering. Scripture is clear on this as Paul write in Romans 8:18, ” I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” We also are told to rejoice in all circumstances (1 Thes. 5:16) as well as to rejoice in suffering of all kinds (Romans 5:3-5). I spent a lot of years fighting God on this stuff. How could He allow my mother to suffer as she did when she did nothing wrong? How could I get abused the way I was when I did nothing wrong? Why was my family separate time and time again when we did nothing wrong? Hard questions to be sure, but God has an answer that you may not like: God uses all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Again, I am sorry for your pain, but be a bit careful making assumptions about people you don’t know – everyone has their pain but God is bigger than all of it. Blessings to you.

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