Do you have the idea that your life as a Christian is just going to get better and better? That one by one your problems will disappear? That because God always answers prayer, God knows your dreams, and so yours will all come true one by one?
Sometimes those things happen. But so does the opposite. Death, war, financial disaster, and destruction visit all homes, those of believers and unbelievers alike. God’s people sometimes have to swallow bitter pills and suffer terrible losses.
Like the loss of a spouse. A godly woman named Naomi suffered the catastrophic loss of her husband (and two sons), made all the worse in that they had been living as lonely exiles in the land of the Moabites. Naomi’s outlook was bleak: “‘Don’t call me Naomi’ [i.e., “pleasant”], she told them. ‘Call me Mara [i.e., “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).
Compounding her pain was the fear that her suffering was a punishment from God. But the Lord’s steady blessings in her life gave her new confidence and hope. Her daughter-in-law Ruth remarried and gave Naomi a home, and her life was crowned with the unexpected pleasure of holding a grandchild on her lap.
We can help hurting people who are obsessing over their losses by reminding them to be mindful of the direct blessings God is still sending.