“For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” (Lamentations 3:31-32 NIV)
What do you do when your world is falling apart?
Maybe you got the dreaded phone call that said, “Sorry, the test came back and it’s cancer,” or your spouse walked out on you, or someone you loved just died. Maybe you lost your job, or the falling stock market has left you on shaky financial ground. Things in your life were going so smoothly, and then the next minute it’s as if a storm hit your life, and now all your plans have been destroyed. What do you do?
There are entire books in the Bible that deal with this question. One of them, the book of Lamentations, was written by the prophet Jeremiah after he witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the people of Israel being taken into slavery by the Babylonians.
In Lamentations, Jeremiah is brutally honest as he states his complaints to God. He basically tells God, “I don’t like anything that’s going on in my life right now. I don’t like what I see happening in the economy. I don’t like what I see happening to our national security. I don’t like seeing people starving and out of work. I don’t like seeing the immorality, injustice and crime. And I really don’t like our people being taken away into slavery.”
But in the middle of this book of complaints, through this God-breathed Scripture that is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training” us (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT), God shows us how to deal with our feelings when our world crumbles.
This week, I want to look at the six specific things God tells us to do when our lives fall apart. You may not need this right now in your life. Everything might be all roses and sunshine for you, and if that’s the case, then praise God! But I hope you will take these devotionals to heart, because I guarantee you will need them someday. Inevitably there will come a time in your life — probably multiple times — when the wheels come off, and you’ll need to know what to do when you go through those rough times.
So here’s my homework assignment for you today: take time to read chapter 3 of Lamentations. Just set aside 10 minutes of your day and read it slowly, remembering what Jeremiah was experiencing as he wrote these words. Ask God to speak to you and prepare your heart for what he wants you to learn this week.
Here is Lamentations, chapter 3, online at www.youversion.com.
Saddleback Resources offers a small group Bible study related to these devotionals: The Invisible War-Winning the Battle of Temptation.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life , as well as The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.