to Do When Your World Falls Apart…by Rick Warren
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)
you got the dreaded phone call that said, “Sorry,
the test came back and it’s cancer,” or your spouse walked out on you,
someone you loved just died. Maybe you lost your job, or the falling
market has left you on shaky financial ground. Things in your life were
so smoothly, and then the next minute it’s as if a storm hit your life,
all your plans have been destroyed. What do you do?
book of Lamentations was written by the prophet
Jeremiah after he witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the people
Israel being taken into slavery by the Babylonians. Jeremiah is
as he states his complaints to God. He basically tells God, “I don’t
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
security. I don’t like seeing people starving and out of work. I don’t
seeing the immorality, injustice and crime. And I really don’t like our
being taken away into slavery.”
shows us how to deal with our feelings when our world
crumbles. Let’s look at the six specific things God tells us to do when
lives fall apart. These will be helpful when the wheels come off, and
need to know what to do when you go through those rough times.
am a man who has seen affliction, by the rod of his
wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than
has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has
skin grow old and broken my bones. He has surrounded me with bitterness
hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like the dead. He has walled
so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. Even when I
call out or
cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks
stone; he has made my paths crooked.” (Lamentations 3:1-10 NIV)
didn’t mince words. He told God exactly how he
felt, and you know what? God is okay with that. He wants you to unload
your frustrations on Him. Don’t unload them on your spouse, your
boss or some online blog. Take it all to God, because he can handle
complaints and frustrations. God is your Heavenly Father and will still
you, just as a parent loves his or her child even when that child
throws a fit.
can’t see why God allows what he allows in your life,
and God doesn’t owe you an explanation, because he’s God and you
someday, and it might not be until you get to heaven, you’ll be able to
back and see the big plan. Until that day comes, keep taking your
thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter
poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. Yet hope
when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy
continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all
so in him I put my hope.” (Lamentations 3:19-26 TEV)
your world is falling apart, it’s so easy to focus
on the pain, the problems, the pressure and the difficulties. It’s the
response. But the biblical response is to turn your focus to God’s
though you’re mad at God, you need to remind yourself how much he loves
Focus on his unconditional love. Remember that you can’t make God stop
you. You can complain, yell at him and scream at him, but he will still
can see this biblical approach in Jeremiah’s life in
Lamentations 3:19-26. Jeremiah starts out focused on his pain: “The
my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly,
spirit is depressed.” Jeremiah was consumed by the devastation around
consumed his thoughts and made him bitter and depressed.
you want to change your life, you have to change
your thoughts. So that’s what Jeremiah does. We see the mental
the next verse: “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The
unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure
sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.”
don’t know God is all you need until God is all
you’ve got. But that’s all you need, because God will take care of you. We make dumb mistakes when we start doubting
God’s love. We need to change our thinking. We need to remember, “The
merciful and will not reject us forever. He may bring us sorrow, but
for us is sure and strong. He takes no pleasure in causing us grief and
(Lamentations 3:31-33 TEV).
is God — the eternal, all-knowing, infallible God who created you to
and will never leave you. So when you
feel like you’ve lost everything, stop focusing on what’s lost and
focusing on what’s left: God and his love for you.
life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself.
Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions. Wait for hope to
appear.” (Lamentations 3:28-29 MSG)
concept of waiting on God is a spiritual
habit. It is the single greatest antidote to anxiety and tension. It’s
spiritual discipline that you must learn to do or you will be under
is what it means to wait on God: you sit down and
shut up. Jesus encouraged us to "go into your room, close the door and
pray to your Father, who is unseen" (Matthew 6:6).
He repeatedly spent time alone with his
Father (cf. Mark 1:35; 6:46). Find a
place to be quiet and sit still in silence. Don’t
read anything. Don’t pray. Just take
some deep breaths, sit before God and say, “God, I’m just going to wait
you.” It’s amazing what a calming ability this has on your heart and
“Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. … They will run and
grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).
wants to talk to you. If you aren’t hearing him, it’s
because you aren’t making time in your schedule to listen to him.
busy listening to your iPod, playing with your iPad, watching
playing video games or talking on your cell phone. You might be
his Spirit to speak to your spirit. Open
your mind to his voice. Listen as thoughts
come to you from God's
word and world. Ask the Holy Spirit to
help you discern his words and impulses. Yield
yourself to his presence and direction. Tell
God you’re waiting to hear from him and
then listen. Be quiet.
your thoughts on Him:
"Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right
of God. Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:1-2). Envision
God on his throne (Isaiah 6:1-8; Revelation
4). Spend a moment praising him for his
and thanking him for his goodness to you. That’s
the power of a quiet time. But wait in
patience, because God’s timing is perfect.
us examine our ways and test them, and let us return
to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40 NIV)
are a lot of things in life that can’t be changed.
For example, you can’t change your past or the genes you inherited.
like that, peace of mind will only come when you accept them.
you do change the things you can change when your
world falls apart. The only thing you can change is you. You can change
attitude and skills. You can change your character and values. And you
change the way you use your time and what’s important to you.
says, “Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40 NIV). Do a relational
inventory, a spiritual inventory, and a moral inventory.
you start doing these evaluations, you’ll realize
you’ve stored up a lot of emotions, like guilt, anger, frustration,
remorse. You’ll need to deal with these emotions in order to have
recovery in your life. Don’t ignore them and don’t give up on making a
in your life. God is for you, and he will help you with your deepest
regrets. Give them to God and listen for what he tells you to do.
enemies threw me in to a pit and dropped stones on
me. The water flowed above my head, and I cried out, ‘This is the end!’
called on your name, Lord, from deep within the well, and you heard me!
listened to my pleading; you heard my weeping! Yes, you came at my
cry and told me, ‘Do not fear!’” (Lamentations 3:53-57 NLT)
most damaging emotion is fear. Fear is the emotion
that keeps you stuck in the past. Fear paralyzes you. Fear is the
problem most people face — fear that they’re not going to make it, fear
future, or fear of what other people think.
you are battling fear in your life today, God says the
same thing to you that he said to Jeremiah: “Do not fear!” God
control and will get you through whatever you’re facing. He will get
you out of
the pit in his perfect timing. So ask God to relieve your fears.
you are afraid
that your life has fallen apart and your best days are behind you,
wrong. God can always turn things around. He sent his son, Jesus
“seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV). No matter what
through, no matter how bad your circumstances appear, pray this prayer
Jeremiah: “Restore me, O Lord, and bring me back to you again! Give me
joy I once had!” (Lamentations 5:21 NLT).