“The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.” (Lamentations 3:19-26 TEV)
When your world is falling apart, it’s so easy to focus on the pain, the problems, the pressure and the difficulties. It’s the natural response. But the biblical response is to turn your focus to God’s love.
Even though you’re mad at God, you need to remind yourself how much he loves you. Focus on his unconditional love. Remember that you can’t make God stop loving you. You can complain, yell at him and scream at him, but he will still love you forever.
You can see this biblical approach in Jeremiah’s life in Lamentations 3:19-26. Jeremiah starts out focused on his pain: “The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.” Jeremiah was consumed by the devastation around him; it consumed his thoughts and made him bitter and depressed.
If you want to change your life, you have to change your thoughts. So that’s what Jeremiah does. We see the mental switch in the next verse: “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.”
You 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 start to think, “I know better than God, and I’m going to start choosing my way to do things rather than following God’s way of doing things.” Or we think God is a cosmic killjoy who looks for ways to make our lives miserable.
We need to change our thinking. We need to remember, “The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever. He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong. He takes no pleasure in causing us grief and pain” (Lamentations 3:31-33 TEV).
God loves you. He is not the strict parent that you couldn’t please. He is not the imperfect parent with weaknesses and faults who messed up. He is God — the eternal, all-knowing, infallible God who created you to love you and will never leave you.
So when you feel like you’ve lost everything, stop focusing on what’s lost and start focusing on what’s left: God and his love for you.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life , as well as The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.