by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson
“If you think this is building my faith, you’re wrong,” I told God.
My husband and I had faithfully served a community of believers for over a decade when the leader’s controlling spirit began to express itself in unethical and dishonest behavior. When he wouldn’t respond to reason, I prayed God would resolve the situation or allow us to slip away quietly.
We tried to leave without drawing attention to ourselves, but the leader created a brouhaha worse than anything I could have imagined. When I heard the lies he was spreading about us, hurt and anger choked me.
Why had God ignored my prayers? Why had He forsaken us?
What Do I Believe?
Do you trust God’s kindness?
Do you believe He is good to you? Today? In that situation you desperately need Him and He seems to have failed?
The Bible proclaims God’s kindness. It also tells stories of believers, like Naomi, who allowed circumstances to blind them to His tenderness.
Naomi believed God was kind—to other people. She told her daughters-in-law, “May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me” (Ruth 1:8 NIV).
But Naomi thought God’s kindness had run out—for her. Weren’t the graves of her husband and two sons proof?
“Call me Mara [bitter], because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21 NIV).
Has disappointment ever distorted your perception of God? In such times, we reason that we wouldn’t allow our loved ones to suffer if we had God’s power. Since God permitted our pain, we conclude He must be angry or not care about us.
Now I Believe
When Ruth came home from gleaning barley and reported how Boaz had been kind to her, Naomi’s perspective shifted. She exclaimed, “He [God] has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead” (Ruth 2:20 NIV).
By the end of the book of Ruth, Naomi’s circumstances and perspective have flipped. She’s caring for Ruth’s infant son who will carry on the name of Naomi’s husband and sons. The town’s women gently remind Naomi that she had not returned home empty after all. God and Ruth came with her (Ruth 4:15).
Like Naomi, I can’t see God’s kindness when I dictate how it must look. Joseph, on the other hand, trusted God’s kindness while he was in prison.
“The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (Gen. 39:21 NIV).
If Joseph had focused on his chains and his brothers’ betrayal, he would have overlooked God’s kindness and blamed God for not preventing the injustice. He would have demanded his immediate release. But Joseph recognized God’s compassion even before he saw God’s good purpose in his suffering.
The Lord poured out good will to both Naomi and Joseph in their losses. Naomi’s grief may have temporarily blinded her to God’s care, but it didn’t stop God’s goodness.
God used our painful experience to teach me that His nature doesn’t change with my circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
If you feel distant and distrustful of God:
- Ask Him to open your eyes to the evidences of His kindness.
- Thank Him for it now, by faith.
- Look for His goodness every day.
Just as God used Naomi and Joseph’s losses to bring about greater good, He is at work in our stories for our good, too.
Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.” Psalm 23:6 TLB
About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, she speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.
Debbie’s book, Little Women, Big God will introduce you to the surprising women in Jesus’s family tree. As they journey through impossible circumstances, each discovers that quality of life is not determined by the size of our problems but by the size of our God.
Join the conversation: Have you ever struggled with trusting in God’s kindness? Are you now able to see Him at work for your good?