Trusting God in Adversity

This morning I want to continue with our Covenant Sunday Verse:

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV) — 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Here’s a definition of Trust that I love:


The sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. The feeling of being safe or secure. To be unconcerned.

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Last week I talked about how trust is not easy to come by in our suspicious world but in spite of that Scripture calls us to trust God, and gives us these three reasons:

  1. God is Sovereign
  2. God is Love
  3. God is Wisdom

God in his love wills what is best for us. In his wisdom he always knows what is best, and in his sovereignty He has the power to bring it about.

That’s a being we can trust. And it sounds easy, but we so often don’t trust God. Or at least we don’t feel that sense of peace that trust promises. So why is it so hard?

Because the all knowing, all loving, all powerful God doesn’t always do what I want Him to do.

I don’t get the job I wanted … My loved one died … I have a crippling disease … My spouse left me … My child is rebellious … My parents are abusive … My house burned down … the boss is unfair

We could go on and on with all the injustices in the world. What makes it worse it that we believe in a God who can do something about all these injustices, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t solve all my problems.

So today’s question is, “Can we trust God in adversity? Can I trust God even if I don’t understand Him?”

Well, let’s take a closer look at Proverbs 3:5.

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV) — 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

It says trust with all your heart, not your mind.

I like logic. I like spreadsheets. I like a plan. I like maps. Those old-fashioned maps that unfolded so you could see the whole state. I like GPS’s but one thing I don’t like is that you can’t see the whole path. I like the old maps where you could see the entire route. Not just the next turn, but the turn after that, and the turn after that.

The hard thing is is that God doesn’t give us maps. He says trust me and I will get you there. It might be through some difficult valleys but trust me.

I love and hate this quote from CS Lewis:

“We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” ⁠—C.S. Lewis

The path may not always be easy, and sometimes we have to lay aside our logic and just trust God with our hearts.

God’s sovereignty is exercised in infinite wisdom, far beyond our ability to understand. God’s plan and His way of working out His plan are frequently beyond our ability to fathom and understand. We must learn to trust even when we don’t understand.

In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not sense.

- Jerry Bridges, Trusting God

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.

Charles Spurgeon

Even in those adverse circumstances we must continue to believe that God is all powerful, all wise, and all loving and trust him not with our minds, but with our heart.

Back to our verse:

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV) — 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Proverbs is in a section of the Bible we call poetry. Hebrew poetry was different than modern English poetry. One feature of Hebrew poetry is parallelism. One line is stated than another line either repeats it with different words (synonymous parallelism) or the second line states the opposite (antithetical parallelism.) That’s what we have here. The opposite of trusting God with your heart is to lean on your own understanding.

Here’s a fact we all have to come to terms with: God is all knowing – I am not. Therefore, God will not always make sense to me.

"The very essence of anxiety is imagining that we are wiser than God."

— Charles Spurgeon

Lysa TerKeurst

That thing you're trying to trust God with? That prayer you keep whispering over and over? Take it one day at a time. We can't let fears about tomorrow steal our joy for today. Our God is a trustworthy God.

So many Scriptures that call us to trust and remind us of our limited perspective and God’s eternal perspective. Let’s spend some time in prayer. I am going to read over you some scriptures and give you a short prayer prompt and give you a little time to bring that prayer to God. Let’s bow.

  • Isaiah 38:17 (NIV) — 17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.
  • Prayer: God help me to know that some of my anguish is designed for my benefit. Help me to trust you that even in pain you have my best interest at heart.
  • Lamentations 3:32–33 (NIV) — 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.
  • Prayer: Help me to know that you hurt when I hurt and help me to trust in your unfailing compassion to walk with me through the pain.
  • Isaiah 55:9 (NIV) — 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  • Prayer: Forgive me when I doubt you. Forgive my pride to think that I know better. Help me to trust that your judgment is always better than mine.
  • Psalm 9:10 (NIV) — 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
  • Prayer: Help me to trust that even in my despair you have not forgotten me. I may not know the "why" of my circumstances, but I know that you are always there. Help me even in adversity to continually seek you.
  • Psalm 32:10 (NIV) — 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
  • Prayer: The evil one wants me to doubt your love. Doubt your wisdom. Doubt your power. He is always looking for circumstances to deceive me, to distort my understanding of you. Help me trust that even in adversity you love me. It is never your love that is failing, it is always my understanding that fails.
  • Romans 11:33–36 (NIV) — 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Oh, how I wish he gave us a map –  but he doesn’t. But he does give us the destination. So, as we trust him, he will give us peace, confidence, the sense of well-being, hope.