How to Experience the Kindness of God—When Life Stinks

Do you trust God’s kindness?

Do you believe He’ll to be good to you? Today? In that situation where you desperately need Him?

The Bible proclaims God’s kindness. It also tells stories of people, like Naomi, who allowed their 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 for her had run out. 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 grief and disappointment ever distorted your perception of God? I confess that I’ve fallen prey to this. In such times, we reason that  we would not allow our loved ones to suffer if we had God’s power. Since God permitted our pain we conclude He must be angry with us or at the very least have forgotten us.

Living in the restrictions of time hinders our ability to comprehend God’s eternal wisdom.

Now I Believe

When Ruth came home from gleaning barley and reported how Boaz had been kind to her, Naomi’s perspective shifted. She exclaims, “He [God] has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead” (Ruth 2:20).

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, we miss God’s kindness when we dictate how it must look. Joseph, on the other hand, trusted God’s kindness even when 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).

If Joseph had focused on his chains and prison food he would have dismissed this, blaming God for not preventing the injustice in the first place. He would have demanded his immediate release. But Joseph recognized God’s kindness even before he saw the fulfillment of 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, (which complicated her pain) but it didn’t stop God’s goodness.

God’s nature doesn’t change with our circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). #devotional, #hope Click To Tweet

God’s nature doesn’t change with our circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).

  • Ask God to open your eyes to the evidences of His kindness.
  • Thank Him for it, by faith.
  • Look for His goodness.

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” (Ps. 23:6 TLB).

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Speaking of kindness, our weekly group is learning how to show kindness to others. Discussing Shaunti Feldhahn‘s bookThe Kindness Challenge, has been eye-opening—and convicting.

Learn more about Ruth and Naomi’s story in Little Women, Big God.


Sometimes I link up with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #Coffee for Your Heart, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #Grace and Truth,

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  1. Ellen Stevens

    What a wonderful blog for today! It’s the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance…I love this reminder! The little prompts the Holy Spirit gives us to take action on behalf of others can move an unbelieving heart to BELIEVE God is real! Recently Jesus showed me to take blueberries I had picked to my neighbor and it has opened up a new level of friendship! These acts of kindness He reveals to us matter…to build relationships, drawing people to Christ, and building His Kingdom! Thank you Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ellen, that is a beautiful example of being the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing that. It blessed me today.

    • Maree

      My son is a wonderful young man married both very committed Christians. He has a terminal brain tumour. Life does stink for us. No platitudes or Bible verse. For us this is the biggest grief a parent can have. Please offer helpful stuff on the website .

  2. Ann Musico

    “we miss God’s kindness when we dictate how it must look. ” That one sentence in particular really ministered to me this morning. A beautiful post Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. How many times have I done that? 🙂

  3. Pam Ecrement

    Love this post today, my friend! You do such an excellent job of opening the Word and developing insights into characters and passages. How God uses you!!

    Hope it isn’t too hot and humid in your area. It has been very oppressive here for the last 5 days and will be so until the weekend.

    Love and hugs,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Pam. It is HOT here too! Thankful for AC. 🙂

  4. Tammy L Kennington

    Hi Debbie,

    The book of Ruth is one of my favorites. It’s easy to become a “Naomi” when we’re in similar situations. Thank you for reminding us of God’s faithfulness!

    Your neighbor at Tea and Word,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Tammy!

  5. Ella

    Excellent. We all need this teaching/reminder whether we’re in the valley or on the mountaintop, because there’s always someone we love in a valley.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ella, you’re so right. Sometimes we need to remember for others. Thanks so much.

  6. Leslie Newman

    Love the truth found here! Your graphic is so cute, too! Thank you for sharing and reminding us of the kindness of God. It’s amazing!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Leslie, He is amazing! Thanks for commenting.

  7. Shirley Miller

    Thank you Debbie. That was very encouraging and a good reminder!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I love how the Bible encourages us. Thanks, Shirley!

  8. Lauren Sparks

    We miss God’s kindness when we dictate how it should look. So good!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lauren!

  9. Debbie Kitterman

    Debbie – I love this post and so did many others last week at #TuneInThursday .. You are being featured this Thursday, I just wanted to let you know. Thanks for linking up with me each week . Blessings

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Debbie. I appreciate that so much!

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