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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

When Setbacks Come, Focus on the Big Picture

In Job 1:21 it says, “I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!” (GNT)

When hitting a setback, it’s okay to tell God I’m mad, sad, or depressed. It’s okay to express all my emotions to God. Just don’t get bitter.

Bitterness is like saying I don’t trust God when troubles hit. It’s like a poison that will tear life apart if you let it.

Job endured all kinds of problems. He lost his family, his fortune, and his health. But instead of becoming bitter, he kept his focus on the big picture. He understood that God was still in control even though everything in his life seemed to be falling apart.

Job said, “I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!” (Job 1:21 GNT).

I was in the room when my daughter was born. She didn’t come with anything. No toys, a resume, a wardrobe, or a cell phone. I’ve been to enough funerals to know that no one drives a trailer of possessions to the graveside.

We come with nothing. We leave with nothing.

When setbacks come my way—and they will—I need to focus on the fact that God has a bigger picture in mind.

Many things will change in my life. My faith will be tested and tried. Like Job, I haven’t been promised a perfect life. And I won’t get an explanation when setbacks come. But I can choose to trust God anyway.

No matter what setbacks I face, I can trust that . . . 

●   God will never stop loving me.

●   God has a plan for my life.

●   God cares about every detail of my life.

●   God is in control of things even when I don’t understand it.

●   God will protect me.

Regardless of any setback, those five truths make up the big picture of my life. When everything else falls apart, I can base my life on them.

I won’t get bitter if I keep my eyes on a big picture like that.

In Job's example, he did not hide his overwhelming grief. He had not lost his faith in God; instead his emotions showed that he was human and that he loved his family. God created my emotions, and it is not sinful or inappropriate to express them as Job did. If I experience a deep loss, a disappointment, or a heartbreak, I admit my feelings to myself and others, and grieve. Job had lost his possessions and family in this first of Satan's tests, but he reacted rightly toward God by acknowledging God's sovereign authority over everything God had given him. Satan lost the first round. Job passed the test and proved that people can love God for who he is, not for what he gives.