Trusting God’s Call When It Doesn’t Make Sense

Few things are as challenging as trusting God’s call when it doesn’t make sense. For several decades, my family’s life has been a case study of God’s perplexing sovereignty and unwavering faithfulness, where 2 + 2 rarely equals 4 — but God always shows up. So when my husband, Mike and I packed our lives and pickup truck and headed South for a job relocation, we were prepared for adventure.

Pulling away from our Northern California home, we felt a lifetime of family roots tear away as we headed over the Sierra Nevada Summit. It was a big, painful move but when God calls, you go. The goodbyes hurt, but with expectant hearts and our little pug, Pip to ease the ache, we headed across the country to our new home state. After a season of loss and grief, we had a tank full of hope for the future God called us to. 

Navigating The Unexpected

But the moment we hit southern soil, the battle was on. An underground hive of hornets attacked Mike in our backyard — twice — and our movers pillaged and damaged most of our belongings handing our furniture to us in pieces without apology or explanation. My work pivoted in painful, unexpected ways, Mike’s prearranged job fell through, and our young adult daughter could not connect despite her best efforts. And on it went.

For every believer, following God means facing challenges, so we chalked ours up to the pioneering life where wheels fall off wagons and enemy attacks are all part of the story. Neither of us expected easy, but relentless? Weeks turned to months of increasing struggle. We felt disoriented and out of place with no compass or clue why God called us to this new place.

As we approached the two-year mark with no relief or apparent answers, we wondered if we had misunderstood God. I’ll tell you, when you follow God’s call and everything keeps going wrong, you ask a few close questions. Had our desires clouded our thinking and ability to hear from God? Had we misunderstood Him altogether? 

We had prayed through the decision and believed God spoke to each of us in scripture. Godly counsel confirmed our decision was Spirit-led, so what was wrong? I revisited Bible passages God spoke to me through for months prior to the move when “Go” was God’s megaphone message. My carefully recorded dates and notes reassured me that this move was God’s idea, not ours.

Choosing To Trust

Following God’s call can feel confusing — and let’s be honest; plain scary. Especially if we’ve followed Him onto what feels like a tightrope stretched across the Grand Canyon. We step onto it with our arms out, feet wobbling, suspended in the middle of our canyon crossing . . .

Then God falls dead silent beside us.

That’s what it felt like for us, but when you’ve walked with God for years over mountains and through valleys, you learn to trust His heart no matter what circumstances look like.

In scripture, King David trusted God when life didn’t make sense. During a long stretch of silence during his desert wanderings, David wrote:

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 NIV

God is Working for Our Good

David’s experience is a comforting example of God’s sovereign, faithful heart in the midst of relentless struggle and silence. After receiving a clear call from God to serve as Israel’s next king, David spent over a decade in exile, hated and hunted by the leader he had faithfully served.

We can imagine his confusion as he crouched in his cave hideout pouring his heart out to the Lord he loved and trusted. His cry in Psalm 13, “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?” reveals how he wrestled with questions and fear and doubt.

Just like we do.

David had no formula or three-step process to fix his problems. Instead, he met sustained struggle and confusion with raw, naked faith that trusted what it couldn’t understand and followed when it couldn’t see.

We know God’s faithful love shaped David throughout his desert pilgrimage in profound ways. When he received the promised crown, he reigned as a man who knew his God and loved his people, a humble and legendary king. 

David’s experience holds great promise for us. Many of the psalms we treasure flowed from his punctured heart and were held in God’s faithful hand as He met him there. Each psalm is a promise that in the midst of our perplexities and problems, God is working for our good.

Each psalm is a promise that in the midst of our perplexities and problems, God is working for our good. Click To Tweet

Your calling may not be to pack up and move across the country, but God invites us all to step out in faith and take a risk: to accept a job that feels too big, to begin a new relationship, or to follow that God-given dream. Even when our path gets murky, David’s story reassures us that when God initiates a plan, He has the power and wisdom to finish it.

God didn’t fail David then and He won’t fail you or me, either.

Have you ever felt you had misunderstood God’s direction when something you had prayed about didn’t seem work out? What helped you move forward in faith?

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Comments 2

  1. Just what I needed to read this morning, dear Bethany. You put into accessible expression God’s gift of perspective and sustaining hope. Am sharing this with several I know in a desert experience. Thank you. Prayers your way.

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