Everybody comes to a point in their lives when they feel like the world is crashing down on them. It might be caused by relationships failing, business going bankrupt, or health issues taking a turn for the worst.
When this happens, Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church wrote on his website that it’s easy to focus on the pain, problems, and difficulties ahead. But he says Christians should have a different response.
“The biblical response is to turn your focus to God’s love,” he says. “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.”
Warren shared the story of Jeremiah’s life in Lamentations 3:19-26. When Jeremiah focused on his problems, all he could feel was bitterness and depression. But when he started to change his thoughts and focus on God’s goodness, he felt significantly better.
The verses of hope read: “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, and so in Him I put my hope.”
Warren explains that people usually don’t know God is all they need until God is all they’ve got. However, this is the best thing to realise because God never lets anyone down.
“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 to do things my way rather than following God’s way.’ Or we think God is a cosmic killjoy who looks for ways to make our lives miserable,” Warren says.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Warren says God loves people, and He is not the strict parent who cannot be pleased that some people picture Him to be.
“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,” says Warren. “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.”
At the same time, Warren also says the first purpose of people’s lives is to be loved by God. It’s important to serve God, love Him, and obey Him, but the pastor stressed that it is the first purpose of people to love Him.
“To understand your life’s purpose and calling, you have to begin with God’s nature. God is love. Love is the essence of his nature. The only reason there is love in the universe is because of God. Ants and snails do not love, but you were made in God’s image, so you can love,” he explains.