Sometimes We Discover God Amid Disappointment

by Debbie Wilson

My teenaged heart awoke to God while lying on my back on a dock staring at stars only visible to someone away from city lights. The smell of the marsh, the rhythmic lap of the river, and the chirping night symphony cast a spell that made me feel small, yet part of something magnificent. David surely felt this magic when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1).

Abraham also felt it. “For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith’” (Rom. 4:3 NLT). Genesis says this happened while he gazed at the stars.

Abraham had just defeated four wicked kings to rescue Lot, and he’d given up his rightful monetary reward. Perhaps he worried these kings would seek retribution. Or, in hindsight, had he been foolish not to take his fair share of the booty? Maybe he was just worn out from battle. Whatever his state, God understood and said, “Don’t fear, Abraham. I am your great reward.”

Now, if God told you He was your great reward, how would you respond? Would you bow speechless and amazed? Would you leap for joy?

Abraham said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless?” (Gen. 15:2).

“What can you give me?” Whoa, Abraham. Do you know whom you’re talking to?

His reply reminds me of the little girl who prayed, “Thank you for the baby brother—but I prayed for a puppy.”

Did Abraham’s Frankness Offend God?

No. Abraham and God were close. Abraham didn’t need to fake a pious response. God understood his disappointment and longing for a son. He promised Abraham a son and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”

Count the stars? Impossible! But Abraham gazed into the heavens anyway. The cold lump of disappointment melted as he watched new stars emerge. Belief warmed his core and spilled out in laughter and tears. Yes, he would become the father of many. The Creator, the One who spoke worlds into being, would do this.

“And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:5–6 NASB).    

Why would counting billions of stars help Abraham believe he would father a son? God gave Isaiah similar instructions. “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isa. 30:26 NLT).

Abraham began to count the stars and was overcome. Nothing was impossible for the Creator of all of this. Scripture says he believed in God, and God counted his faith as righteousness.

The promise of a son was no longer remote when Abraham saw the size of God. The promise of great nations coming from an infertile couple was nothing to the Creator of the Milky Way.

In the end, God took Abraham’s weakness and turned it into a staggering promise. Not one heir, Abraham—billions.

What has discouraged you or left you feeling powerless? Have you brought your disappointment to God? Maybe it’s time for a little stargazing. Impossible problems are no problem for a big God.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! Ps. 8:1 NASB

*Adapted from Little Faith, Big God, Leafwood Publishers

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

Debbie and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Is there something in nature that speaks to you of God’s greatness?

Do You Hear the Song?

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

My friend Lisa longed to see Old Faithful ever since she studied the geyser in her sixth grade geography class. Artesian springs were abundant around her southeast Texas home, but their gently flowing waters could not satisfy her desire to witness the power of Yellowstone National Park’s most famous natural site.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s family did not have the resources for many vacations, so almost three decades passed before she stood on the viewing platform next to Old Faithful. Lisa, her husband, and their five children had started their trip at the northern end of the park. They enjoyed the hot springs, canyon, mud pots, and wild life. But she purposefully saved the geyser for last.

Lisa knew the geyser would be impressive, but the depth of her reaction surprised her. The eruption built until water and steam reached more than 150 feet into the air. The power of nature demonstrated by the Old Faithful geyser turned Lisa’s heart and mind to the power of its Creator. The holiness of God overwhelmed her as she witnessed His majesty revealed in His creation.

“All I could think of was the majesty of God; how holy and mighty beyond my imagination. He had created this spectacular display of power, yet it is minuscule compared to His power. I could stand safely on the viewing platform and witness the power of the geyser, but I knew I could never stand in the presence of God except by His grace through Christ. I worshiped God in that moment. He had given me a glimpse of His majesty.”

Have you heard the songs of praise?

Before the stars dotted the heavens and the waves crashed on the shore, God existed in all His holiness. Divine, perfect nature witnessed solely by the Triune God Himself. Then God spoke, and His majesty burst forth in visible wonder. He splashed His glory across the skies and spread His power in the ocean depths. Now all creation sings a clear, unbroken chorus of praise about the holiness of God.

Since the beginning of time, what has been made testifies to the unlimited power and worthiness of its Maker. Nature beckons us to seek God, bidding us turn our eyes and hearts to the Creator. It is beyond comprehension that this powerful, majestic, holy God desires us to know Him. And yet He does.

The psalmist David responded to God’s handiwork. As a shepherd, he spent many nights under the stars with the sheep, where creation’s song fostered his own praise:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Psalm 19:1-3, NIV

Creation reveals the power and majesty of God. No language difference or cultural barrier can hinder its message. No government or law can silence its voice. The complex beauty of the heavens and the earth reflect the holiness of God to every person, of every language, in every place. Without exception.

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Do You Hear the Song? – Thoughts on the Majesty of God from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: When was the last time something in God’s creation filled you with awe and worship for its Creator?

Message In The Clouds

by Sheri Schofield

I’m a cloud girl. I love watching clouds and looking for designs that remind me of something familiar down here on planet earth. Montana has some of the most unusual cloud patterns I’ve ever seen. We have days when clouds look like UFOs or elephants chasing geese, stripes or puffballs. One day I saw angels flying across the sky! I find the constantly changing cloud formations fascinating.

But yesterday I saw something unlike anything I’d seen before. The clouds were unexciting, plodding across the sky toward another destination. But across one cloud I saw a perfect, human eye shape, complete with eyelids sketched against the dull background. It was startling, and I wondered how it got there!

Psalm 32:8 flashed across my mind: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (

God knows I am a cloud girl. I sensed that he put that eye in the clouds just for me, to remind me that he is watching my efforts to reach the children of my town for Jesus – that he has a plan and the power to do this work. He will guide me, open doors for me, bring others of like mind to me. He will energize and organize this effort.

I do not have that kind of influence. But God does! As I walk in obedience to the instructions God gives, I can trust him to orchestrate everything, to bring me into contact with people whose goal is the same as mine.

Will this happen overnight? Probably not. The only thing I know is that he expects me to be faithful in my efforts to reach these children for Jesus, for as long as I am here.

Ministry here on earth can feel daunting at times. Each believer has his or her own work to do, and sometimes the trials and resistance of earth cause us to feel like our work does not matter . . . that it is pointless. But that is not God’s message to us! The devil would love us to think that way. He would prefer that we give up. But God is with us! Jesus’ very name in prophecy – Emmanuel – means “God with us”.

God did not mean for any of us to minister alone, either. He intends for us to be part of a body of believers who will support us in prayer and words of encouragement. We need the church, the Body of Christ.

Paul talks about spiritual gifts given to people when they give their hearts to Christ. He speaks of these gifts as being parts of a body. One gift could be compared to a head, another could be like a hand, and so forth. He emphasizes how we must function together. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ . . . Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:21 & 27, NIV)

God did not call any of us to be Lone Rangers. We are to serve him together, loving one another, upholding one another and praying earnestly for one another. As we do, the assignments God has given to us will grow easier because of the mutual support.

Not a bad train of thoughts while I had my head in the clouds! God still speaks through His creation. Thank you, Father!

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.  Psalm 19:1-3 NASB

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Message in the clouds – by Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Join the Conversation: What inspiring thing have you seen in creation lately?