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Intersection Column | Is God Still Trustworthy?

by Angela Carlisle


Fight. Flight. Freeze. Fawn.


Most people have probably heard these terms used to describe the survival response. I tend to be a “freezer.” If the emotions of people around me are high, I become overly cool and analytical. If I feel a lot of pressure in a conversation (like during a job interview—or, heaven forbid, while trying to talk to a stranger!), there’s a good chance that my mind will just go blank. Poof! Anyone else?


Toward the end of my college years, I experienced what I would describe as a freeze response in my spiritual walk. For a long time, I couldn’t feel God. Although I knew enough Scripture to know He wouldn’t leave me, I still felt like He was holding His blessing out of reach.


Perhaps I froze as an emotional guard against a perceived hurt. But there was a lot going on in the background of my life that was likely altering my spiritual perception—things like a severe chronic illness flare, probable anemia, college pressures, etc. I didn’t see that then. It’s often hard to see what’s really going on when you’re in the middle of things.


But I didn’t stay in that place. Despite my feelings (or lack thereof) and, yes, I’ll admit, some bad attitudes on my part, I chose to act in faith and keep seeking God. And eventually things changed. The change didn’t happen overnight—in fact, I think it took years rather than weeks or months. And I don’t think I noticed when the change happened, but one day I realized my peace was back. My joy was back. God hadn’t left me. He’d been right there, so close, the whole time.


Fast forward a couple years to when I began writing Secondary Target. I’m not a plotter by any means, but I found myself exploring the issue of faith and feelings in my main character Corina’s life. Is God still trustworthy despite the things we experience?


Corina’s life is nothing like mine—well, except for the Texan-turned-Kentuckian who always wears cowboy boots part—but I digress. She’s been through extreme upheaval and significant grief, and she’s become an emotional “freezer.” She still believes in Jesus, but she’s convinced that He’s abandoned her and there’s no point in trying anymore. She really doesn’t want to feel—because loss hurts too much.


But that’s just the beginning of the story. Unbeknownst to Corina, the reason her father uprooted her when she was barely a teen, moving the family from Texas to Kentucky, was to outrun the killer determined to eliminate their family. And when the killer resurfaces and her father disappears, Corina is left with more questions than answers. With nowhere else to turn, she finds herself relying more and more on her ex—recently-returned army veteran, Bryce Jessup.


Bryce has kept his faith all these years, despite the tragedy that tore apart his relationship with Corina. And although winning her back is the furthest thing from his homecoming plans, once he discovers she’s in danger, he is determined to keep her safe no matter the cost.


Secondary Target is romantic suspense, no doubt about it. But at its core, it’s a story about second chances, friendship, grief, and choosing to trust God even when circumstances and feelings say trust is pointless—because in reality, He is trustworthy.


About the Author

Angela Carlisle resides in the hills of northern Kentucky and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Christian PEN. Angela is an editor by day and prefers to spend her free time reading, baking, and drinking ridiculous quantities of hot tea. Her unpublished works have won awards in ACFW’s Genesis and First Impressions contests and placed in the Daphne du Maurier contest. Her shorter fiction works, including the prize-winning flash-fiction piece “Mansion Murderer,” have appeared in Splickety and Spark magazines. Learn more at


About the Book

After the brutal murder of her mother and brother twelve years ago, Corina Roberts built a new life in Kentucky. But when strange things begin to happen, she is thrust into a perilous game of life and death. With nowhere else to turn, her best hope of survival depends on her ex-boyfriend, army veteran Bryce Jessup. As their search for answers uncovers lethal secrets her detective father kept hidden, Bryce and Corina must untangle the mystery of the merciless killer intent on terrorizing and eliminating Corina's family before it's too late.



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