Sam believes in a world where life is secure, where people are trustworthy and love each other, and where a benevolent God is in charge. This is the worldview that has been instilled in her since she was a child, through her family and through her Christian faith.
Unfortunately, as Sam enters her teenage years, she finds that situations and relationships are not what she had always imagined them to be in her life. Her mother is in rehab, and her father, who is adept at talking about life from the pulpit, is a disaster when it comes to perceiving and ministering to the needs of his own family. Sam's concept of the world as a safe place is shattered when a young church member is kidnapped, and her expectation that the world is a loving place is challenged when she finds that with her mother gone and her father preoccupied with the problems of his parishioners, she is isolated and alone. Sam's understanding of right and wrong is compromised as she watches her pastor father develop a relationship with the church youth leader which is questionable at best, and through it all, she wonders why the all-powerful God she has been taught to believe in seems absent. Through friendship and endurance, however, Sam begins to see that reality is not neat or easy as she might have imagined it to be as a child, and while she does experience the presence of God when she is at her lowest point, she finds that his workings are sometimes beyond human understanding. By the end of the story, Sam's world-view has expanded and matured. She still believes in love, and in an omnipotent God, but she knows that people are fallible, that loving relationships do not come easily and must constantly be nurtured, and that while God does love and shepherd his children, his ways are often inscrutable.