When Life Does Not Turn Out

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:19

It’s not a stretch to say that most people have hopes and dreams for this life. I don’t personally know anyone who wants to live a bad life! I’ve never seen an advertisement for a seminar called “How to Have a Lousy Life,” have you? Still, for many Christ-followers, life doesn’t turn out the way they had hoped. Perhaps you have experienced the disappointment of dreams and goals that have gone unfulfilled. Life’s reality breaks through the front door of our lives–as an uninvited guest–and then must be dealt with as a new member of the family.

Let me share with you a personal example: some years ago, while in my early-forties, I had a heart attack. At the time, I was physically fit and had worked for years to minimize risk factors because of a family history of heart disease. My plans did not include dealing with heart disease during my forties, so my disappointment at this new reality of life hit me hard. Now, years later, although my life has regained its sense of balance, I live with the knowledge that in this life, I won’t have all that I wanted or envisioned.

I share this personal story with you because, like you, I am on the journey of being a Christ-follower and the journey includes all of our life experiences–both good and bad. While we can’t have everything that we want, we can trust that God provides for what we need. God is in the business of providing opportunities for us to grow in faith daily. And, it seems that most often these opportunities take the form of struggles and trials.

Painful life experiences may not be enjoyable, but they absolutely can be good and worthwhile if in the midst of them we allow ourselves to be molded into the likeness of Jesus! We are both able and responsible to choose our response to trials. A time of trial forces a decision to be made and our response, like facing a fork in the road, determines which road we take. One road leads to despair and bitterness, the other road leads to hope and developing Christ-like character.

Today, I encourage you to be mindful that we can’t always get what we want in life, but we can choose–even in the midst of disappointment–to trust that God will provide everything we need!

1. When life doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, how do you normally respond?

2. Why do you think God chooses to use our trials and struggles to build godly character into our lives?

James 1:2-4, 12; Romans 5:3-5; Romans 8:18-30

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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