Finding God in Life’s Disappointments

Sarah Jakes RobertsBy Sarah Jakes Roberts5 Minutes

We make idols out of so many things in our lives. Whether we’re just getting by or finally getting ahead, we discover that cars, clothes, careers, relationships, and money all have a way of clouding our vision, pulling our focus away from God. Eventually, we learn that we cannot serve two masters. We must choose and prioritize what’s most important to us. We have to draw the line between enjoying things and worshiping things.

In fact, it’s usually not until we encounter trouble that we reassess what we consider valuable and learn that things are just that – things. Whether it’s divorce, loss of income, death of a loved one, or some other life-changing moment, we finally find ourselves at a crossroads. What do we do when life doesn’t go as planned? Will we become bitter? Or will we seek God in the midst of our loss and become better?

Ruth, a Moabite woman, grew up practicing the religion of her land. Although she was raised to worship many gods, there was only One who could prepare her for her destiny. When Ruth married Mahlon, she didn’t marry just him. She married his God. Finding fulfillment in her marriage and her new faith, Ruth appeared to be living her dream.

We aren’t told how much they enjoyed each other, but it seems clear from her grief that Ruth experienced an abiding love with her husband. She may have recognized her good fortune, or she might have taken it for granted. Regardless, she enjoyed ten years of living her dream – until her dream became her nightmare.

Ruth had to have felt like her world had shattered into thousands of irretrievable pieces. How could this have happened? This was not what she had expected! And it wasn’t just her life that seemed to be crumbling to dust. Her father-in-law had already died, leaving behind his wife, Naomi, Ruth’s beloved mother-in-law.

Mahlon’s brother also died. Now their family had no men to protect and provide for them. Ruth obviously had some hard choices before her. What do you do when life doesn’t go as planned? You’ve finally sown all the right seeds, yet all you reap in return is heartache. We hardly ever question God when things go as we want them to. But when we face trouble, we want answers. Where is God in the midst of our life’s most painful disappointment?

Many times we feel so stunned by the blows we receive that we feel abandoned by God. How could He love us as His children yet allow these things to happen? Couldn’t He have done something to prevent us from experiencing the bitter pain of our loss? Why would He allow this?

It’s so easy to see Him when things are going our way. But are you willing to do the work it takes to discover Him in the midst of your disasters? He never promised there wouldn’t be trials. He never promised we wouldn’t have to wipe away some tears along the way. What He has promised us is that we are not tested with any obstacle we can’t overcome. And we will never have to face the harsh winds of life alone. God is there with us and has equipped us – long before He trusted us with the struggle. He knows better than we do what we can handle. He also knows what’s required for us to mature into the masterpieces He designed.

Excerpted from Colliding with Destiny by Sarah D. Jakes, ©2014, Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Reprinted by permission. Photo by Will Sterling.