Trusting God Through Ups and Downs


Despite her prior success, British rower Debbie Flood was crushed when she didn't qualify for the Sydney Olympics. At 20 years old, she began to doubt her faith and wondered what her purpose was.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

At first glance, the life of British rower Debbie Flood appears ideal. As a gold medalist at the World Championships many times over, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, and a national-level competitor in judo and distance running, Debbie’s life seems to overflow with success.

In fact, just over a year from the time she began seriously rowing, Flood won the junior trials and earned bronze at the Junior World Championships. Everything was going wonderfully -- until suddenly, it wasn’t. Despite her success leading up to the Sydney Olympics, Debbie was completely crushed when she missed selection to the Olympic team. At 20 years old, she began to doubt her faith and wondered what her purpose was.

“I questioned God and why He had put me here. I thought that I had wasted two years of my life rowing,” Debbie remembers.

In the midst of her questioning, the tables suddenly turned and Debbie ended up having the best year of her rowing career up to that date, winning gold at the U23 World Championships.

“At that point I looked back on my life and could clearly see the path God had brought me on. I realized that God really did have my life in His hands and that I needed to trust Him,” Debbie says.

She continues to practice trusting God, even when life gets hard.

“Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean that everything is smooth and rosy,” Debbie admits. “But I always come back to that point in my life when I was 20 and remember how I felt there. I have total trust that God has my life in His hands and that He is with me through any situation, any up and down.”

Questions: What things in your life have not gone the way you expected? Are you holding on to anger or bitterness related to these issues? What might it look like to trust God’s plans and love for you in the midst of these struggles? How have you seen God at work in situations that seemed bad, but ultimately turned out to be for your good?

Prayer: God, I am often frustrated with the difficulties that arise in my life. Help me to remember that You are always in control of my life, and that Your ways are better than mine, even when I don’t understand them. Thank You for always working things out for my good.

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