Claudine Phillips

What to do when your circumstances just don’t change

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“Don’t call me Naomi, she told them, “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” Ruth 1:20

I tossed and turned all night and finally had resolve to just rise and write. I shuffled to the sofa, ignited with rage. I had a piece of my mind to give to the Lord, and boy was he about to get an earful.

How could you Lord? began the rant.

How could you….and I proceeded to hemorrhage every single heart ache I could unearth in my raw pulsing mind. They were justifiable hurts that have happened TO me, not BY me, and I made sure the Lord knew I still knew where He had failed me.

I sat on my sofa, steaming with anger, tears flooding the pages and eyes following every stroke of my written exasperation. He had forsaken me. Forgotten me and is allowing new pain to enter my life, my marriage. I was boiling with threats of forgetting the God I had entrusted for so long. He wasn’t interested, so I wasn’t. I was over.

Then my phone rang. It startled me as I had vanished into the depths of despair and ink. I picked up hope. Attempted to say hello but no sound. Try it again.

“Hello?” this time audible.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” she, my best friend, asked, hearing my darkness.

“Everything. I am angry. I’ve never been angry with the Lord. I am scared that I am angry with the Lord, but I can’t hold it back. I. Just. Can’t.”


“Take a deep breathe and tell me from the beginning.” as she braced herself.

I vomited everything to the the outsides, to prevent my insides from exploding. My keeper of my heart, my soul sister, who I knew held no judgement, no rejection, and no doubt, listened. She loved me to the core the last 11 years and I knew this would not change, so I chose to hold nothing back.

As I spewed the venom within me, my pity-party grew.

She remained silent.

I continued to rant in the fashion of “The Lord has afflicted me, the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:21

I began to list what I wanted to happen. I exposed my dreams of triumph that have not materialized. I shed my disappointment uninhibitedly.

I was angry.

I took a breath and she inserted,  “If none of this were to ever change, would the Lord still be enough?”

“I don’t undersand.” I responded.

If your circumstances never changed, if she never apologized, or if that never becomes right, would it still be enough that God is your God and He is enough.

Super long pause.

I broke the silence. “I can’t answer that. I am angry.”

“Ok.” she confidently said. “I am praying over you and your hurts. I love you.”

We ended our conversation soon after that.

Although relieved for my friend’s love and support in prayer, I hung up the phone heavy and hopeless. I cried and cried. I pleaded with the Lord, “Deliver me, Lord. Take this pain from me. I don’t want it. I can’t bear it. Take it.”


The story of Jesus in the garden came to mind, but my heart was not where his was. I just wanted the burden lifted. I had no humility and lost all perspective of the “why” I was in this suffering. I just wanted it lifted.

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39

I closed my journal and started my day. Discouraged and bitter.

I would like to say that by lunch, I could see my way, but I remained angry for weeks. I settled in the fact that “this was my life” and I was going to have to figure out a way to still believe the Lord was enough, but my heart just wasn’t hearing my resolve. My heart ached and didn’t want to fake it. I was lost. Hopeless.


Until today. Today’s sermon at Red Rocks Church hit me square in the heart. I had read this story a million times. The story of Ruth. But never have I seen it in this light. I had read James 1:2-4, but now, now is when my soul was alive and listening.

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 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.So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law,arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.” Ruth 1:20-22

Naomi was angry, but not acting in her bitterness. She persevered and traveled back home and just kept swimming regardless her circumstance. Although her great loss of her husband and her sons, she kept the faith. Through her faith walk, the Lord met her in her bitterness AND in her faith through Ruth and Boaz. She was angry and that was ok because she kept her faith and began again. Expectant.

During worship today, the Lord reminded me of my last faith walk. How I chose to persevere in hope and faith that He would deliver and He did in a mighty way. I lost my hope for a few weeks in my new circumstance, yet a fellow brother in Christ was there to volley it back to my heart again.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”James 1:2-4

The testing of my faith produces perseverance. I must let perseverance finish its work so that I may become mature, complete, and not lacking anything.

The Lord is preparing me. He is refining me. He has chosen my trials to mature me. He has chosen my hardships to complete His work on earth. That it is his will and I choose to obey in faith, again.

I got lost. I am found. He is enough.

It is ok to be angry about things that have happened, but to sit stagnant is not the calling of our God. He calls us to remain faithFULL and promises completeness.

Stick with it. Trust our God and His plan for you. He will deliver in our weakness through our faith. He will. I have seen it happen in my life and I plan to see it again in this new faithful trial I face. He will deliver me, as I have prayed. But in a way that is new and mature and complete, and in His precious timing.

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9