Trust That God Has a Plan – When Life Doesn’t Go as You Expect #2

In my last post I wrote about how we need to expect that bad things will happen in our lives, as they do at some point for most people, and how we can prepare for that as Christians by knowing God’s word and His promises.

The example of that in my life was when I failed to get the A level results I needed to get into university but was greatly helped by being prepared for it.

Trusting that God has a plan

The verse that I kept telling myself even before I got the results was this one:

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

This verse was perfect for the situation, because I had done the hard work and now everything was beyond my control, and in God’s hands.  I have learned that when we can’t do anything about our circumstances we don’t have to worry, because God is in control.

Of course that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray. But once we have done what we can, and prayed, then we can trust that God will work it for our good.

An illustration I have heard many times is about a piece of tapestry. If you look at the back it looks a complete mess, but if you turn it over it is a beautiful picture.

That is what our life is like in God’s hands, to us it may look a mess, but years later when we look back, we often understand more of why those things happened, and how God used them for our good and for others, and for His glory.
Anyway, because I was clinging onto this verse, when I got my results and called the university and realised I hadn’t got in, though shocked, I was actually EXCITED! I had been telling myself this verse so much that I was excited to see what God’s plan was!
It was still a difficult time of course, but being prepared for what might happen, and trusting that God had a plan really helped. I think we need to often remind ourselves when we worry or when life doesn’t go how we expect, that God is in control, He loves us and has a plan for us and will work it out for our good.
Then we can sit back and watch what He is going to do! In my case, if I had got the grades I needed, I would never have had a gap year where I went abroad to stay with missionaries, and went on lots of outreach teams which gave me great experience in ministry. This was a great help to me since I later felt God calling me out of university to do ministry, and my husband is in full time ministry. I also would never have gone to Dundee University, where I had great opportunities and met some great people.
Good things that come out of hard times

There are some things that can always come out of trials and difficulties, though more so if we respond the right way.

Our faith is strengthened – like gold is refined through fire, we are refined and grow through affliction. I have heard many people say that though they have had a really hard time, they are now closer to God and have grown more as a Christian through it.
We can comfort others – God ‘comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.’ 2Co 1:4  – no matter what you are going through, you can use what you have learned to help others. When you have been through a situation yourself, you are then more able to know what to say to help others who are going through similar circumstances.
I was listening to Pastor Brian Broderson teach on trials at Creation Fest yesterday, and he said, “What is your job? To just simply trust Him”. We need to keep holding on to the fact that God is in control and will work all these things for our good, and He is faithful so we can trust Him.
Brian Broderson also talked about how he had met recently with Greg Laurie, a well known American evangelist. Greg Laurie lost his 33 yr old son 3 years ago in a car accident. Apparently when they met he shared that only the night before he had dreamed about him, and that day had missed him desperately. But he said, “I’ll never figure out why this happened. I’ve just been trusting the Lord, and God has been faithful”.

When I struggle with trusting God I keep talking to myself. Every time I start worrying I tell myself what the truth is, that God is in control, and bring the situation to Him in prayer. I find that if I keep doing that, eventually I worry less and less and grow more at peace.

Do you have any other verses or truths that help you trust God? Or any experiences where you only later saw why you went through it?

You can find the rest of the series on when life doesn’t go as you expect here:

1. Being Prepared For Trials
3. Hold On to What You Know
4. Prayer Changes Things
5. Take Responsibility
6. Keep Pressing Toward the Goal
7. 10 Ways to Support Christians in Trouble

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Rhoda, Yes, I’ve had a similar experience. I had to get a First as an undergraduate at Oxford to do an Oxford Ph.D. Didn’t! Was shattered at the time.
    However, I went on to the US did a Masters in Creative Writing instead, and then some of a Ph.D in Creative Writing, which has turned out to be more useful to me. Also started dating my husband while doing the MA.
    I was sharing this story with my daughter the other day as encouragement that things work out even if one does not get the expected exam grades. She’s waiting for her GCSE results.

  2. Rhoda says:

    Sorry it’s taken a while to reply! I was at Creation Fest and then travelling home! That’s great that you had a similar experience, it’s amazing when you look back, how things that seemed at the time like the worst possible thing to happen were actually really good.

    I hope your daughter gets what she needs and is encouraged by your story if she doesn’t.

  3. balmesh says:

    Trusting God in everything also helps when troubles like rioting in the towns cause us to worry. It’s ALL in His hands and working to His ends. He is in charge and knows how to drive and exactly where he is going (He doesn’t even need a SatNav!) . . . Balmesh