When God Hurts Your Feelings
Lysa TerKeurst

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

Has God ever hurt your feelings? I'll be honest, sometimes I'll read those verses from Philippians listed above and think to myself, "This is a tough pill to swallow."

Content in any and every situation?


A few years ago my daughter was a state champion gymnast. To see her do gymnastics was like looking at God smile. She was beautiful, graceful, and captivating to watch.

Then one night while practicing for one of the largest tournaments she'd ever competed in, she fell. It was a move she'd done hundreds of times with the greatest of ease. But this time something went terribly wrong and that one mistake ended her gymnastic dreams.

We spent a year going from doctor to doctor only to be told she'd never be able to support the weight of her body on her injured shoulder again.

I'll be honest, this was a tough pill to swallow. Watching a 14 year-old girl wrestle with the fact that her dreams were stripped from her doesn't exactly lend itself to feelings of contentment. Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, people face much worse situations. But in her world, this was huge.

It was so tempting to want to wallow in the "why" questions and tell God He'd hurt our feelings.

Why did this happen?

Why didn't You stop this God?

Why weren't my prayers answered?

Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big situation in your life where you just couldn't process why God would allow this to happen? Or maybe even a small annoyance like losing your keys or having a flat tire on a morning you really needed to be somewhere.

It's so tempting to wallow in the why.

Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn't unspiritual. However, if asking this question pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question.

If asking the why question doesn't offer hope, what will?

The what question.

In other words: "Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?"

Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things" (NIV).

I like to call this verse "directions on where to park my mind."

And that's exactly what Ashley has had to do with her dashed gymnastics dreams. Instead of wallowing in why did this happen, I've had to help her say:

This is my reality, now what am I going to do with it?

What can I learn from this?

What part of this is for my protection?

What other opportunities could God be providing?

What maturity could God be building into me?

Switching from the why to the what questions paves the road to parking our minds in a much better place.

Is it always easy? Nope.

But is it a way to find a perspective beyond situations where we feel God has allowed something in our lives we don't understand and we absolutely don't like? Yes. I pray this helps you today. You can also download a free resource on how to change your why questions into what questions. Just go to my blog, www.LysaTerKeurst.com and click on the button "When God Hurts Your Feelings."

Dear Lord, I want to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love. I know You love me. But sometimes it's just hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Thank You for this new way to look at things. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog to get your free resource mentioned above and to post your prayer request for whatever situation you are facing today. I consider it a great honor to pray for you.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. This book contains chapters that will help you better process tough times when God hurts your feelings.

Also, consider doing this study in a group setting by ordering Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl DVD set – Contains 6 sessions lasting 15-20 minutes each on one DVD for only $24.99 and a free Leader’s Guide!

Application Steps:
Mentally walk yourself through parking your mind in a better place by remembering an event that happened this week and looking for God's protection, provision, and process of maturing you.

Am I afraid to have honest conversations with God about how I really feel about some of my circumstances?

How might it be helpful to really talk to God about things that hurt me?

Why is it helpful to ask what now, instead of wallowing in the why questions?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Blogger KARUNIA said...

Great Devotional... we can learn that God Has the Authority and Sovereign in our life. learning to stay to connect with Him in any condition. Yes, that sure not as easy what we say... need more...more and more practice. :-)

Thanks ya.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I needed today. In my mind I was going over and over a situation that happened yesterday that was just bugging me so much. I asked God to help me as I was trying to keep my mind centered on Him and this is what was posted for today. Thank you for sharing. My situation is nowhere near the difficulty of yours but it still applies and I rejoice is God's "direction on where to park my mind". I so needed that reminder of "whatever is TRUE, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE. . .etc. Thank you so much for letting God speak through you.

Anonymous Em said...

I heard a song once from Relient K that I haven't been able to get out of my head since. Of course its out of context but here it is "You said i know that this will hurt but if i don't break your heart things will just get worse, if the burden seems too much to bear remember the end will justify the pain it took to get us there."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear God,

Thank you that you have helped me turn my why into a what. Thank you that you let me be mad at you and say mean things out of anger without ever turning your back on me, thank you for loving me through my why. Help me to stay in the what and not to return to the why on this deployment. It feels like such a long time and being without him I am sure will make me question why again help me remember it is about what. Let this be a time of strength for our marriage and for our kids as well.

Blogger Bethany said...

well this devotion was right on the money today. the situation i am dealing with right now does not completely make sense to me - i am learning a lot but BOY does it hurt. i couldn't sleep last night because it was really bothering me, although i know it is for the best it is still a hard pill to swallow and making the decision was not easy. thank you for providing this devotion because instead of saying "why?", i won't let the man downstairs get to me and will definitely start changing it to "what now?"

Anonymous Tabitha said...

I love the Relient K song that Em mentioned in her comment, and I was thinking of the same one!

I have been really enjoying these daily devotionals, which I receive via email, and only today realized I could click through to comment!

Philippians 4:13 is one of my favorite verses, yet one that I seem to forget to take hold of all too often. I've even memorized it in another language! :)

Anonymous Sarah McCullough said...

This is wonderful! Thank you for this! I'm going through this right now... my dad was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer... and I just keep asking God 'why?'. I'm having a hard time accepting what 'reality' now means. I really needed to see this. Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how your daughter feels as I was too a gymnast and had many injuries and in the end had to quit. I had a major knee injury in what should have been my peak season for competing. I was devastated and asked God why? Why did you let this happen to me? This was several years ago now and I know now why he did this. It was such a hard thing to go through at the time for gymnastics was my life. This hard time made me into such a more compassionate person and God really worked through me to help me get through it. I have been able to help many others with their struggles. If I had been a great gymnast I would not have known what it was like to feel hurt. I had to get knocked off the high horse in order to help others on the ground as well, to see things in a new way. How its not how talented you are but how you use your talents God gave you to the best of your ability at the time. And that could mean using your hard times to become stronger and help others to do the same.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the devo. it was what I needed. Lots of things going on right now in my life that make me question why. Unsure about a job situation and wanting another baby and not being able to become pregnant. It is very hard sometimes to remember that we are on Gods time table and that everything happens for a reason. Thank you for speaking the truth in your devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this awesome devotion. I am a mother of 3 gymnasts who are all on "team" and compete. This is a blessing for me to read and keep in my file for future use. Not the why, but now what God do you want me to do? Great stuff.

Blogger T-Reese said...

Awesome word indeed! God has "hurt" my feelings many times but in the long run I have grown closer to the Lord knowing that everything He works out for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose. Praise God!

Blogger tess said...

sometimes, there are things we cant figurely know why such things happened. but i beleive that god is always in the process of molding our character. it is what we are, how do we respond to things we dont like.

Blogger Tiffany said...

Thank you so much for this. I have struggled with secondary infertility for over two years now. While I've been pregnant twice during that time, they both ended in miscarriage.

I cannot tell you how many times I've asked God, "Why?" It seems like every one (and I do mean EVERY ONE) of my friends is either pregnant right now or just had a baby. "Why" not me, God? "Why" would You allow me to go through this? "Why" would you refuse to allow my little boy the blessing of being a big brother? Do you take delight in watching me drown myself in tears each month? I've often felt that God is being downright cruel through all of this. I just don't understand any of it.

Thank you for challenging me to change my ways of thinking.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been dealing with the kind of thing you posted about. Many years ago I had to retire from being a pediatrician. I know that I was called to that profession yet God decided He had something else for me. I was so hurt that it took long time and much Godly counselling for me be to finally see God's hand in it. Now I look to see what God has for me and then try to follow it. Currently I/we are helping a set of young parents learn how to be parents. My husband has been so gracious to help with the many things I have felt God leading me/us to do. I can only say that I would have missed so many blessings if I had not followed the path God had for me. Now I know God has so much for me to do there will never be time to do it all. Please pray with me for my adult daughters who have left God's path for them and strayed into what they want.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotional was so on time as I read it just a few minutes ago... I have been wrestling with my will, as well as wanting God's will to be done in my life. I knew that it should be His will only but I just couldn't shake some ppl/things loose from my life. He gave me the strength to leave but because I didn't listen to Him all the other times I am being chastened. I know that this is a painful process to go through and that it's needed... I was thinking the past few days, I am really worthy enough for His grace and mercy, God why do you keep coming to my rescue, Why am I so important to you, Why do you need ME for your Kingdom... Praise God for He is definitely worthy to be praised. We I thought that I had no fight left, He gave me strength! When I felt unimportant somebody came by with an awesome word. Hallelujah to our King!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I felt earlier.
After going through a tough time I started praying for other alternate ways and even tried to follow them but it seems that every door is close.
I end up frustrated in everything.
Yes, I know GOD do exist for sure, and he has even saved me from lot of accidents but I don't want that.
Instead, I want that he should stop interfering with my life.
If I am going to meet up with an accident I should.
He should not save me.
It seems that he has made certain that I have to live through this frustating time which seems to me eternal.
I get some good days and then again I get frustrated with no apparent reasons.
I also started smoking during this time, an act which I was really against.
I smoke because I think that he does not want me to smoke and this way I can hurt him and perhaps then he will do something bad to me and then I will be able to get over this frustrating time and enter a new world of frustration.
Actually I am bored of this frustration and I want some another kind of frustration.
I am mad.......

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