We’ve all faced it at some point in our lives; the heart-wrenching feeling of discouragement. 

We had plans and a vision for how things were going to go, but at some point, it all began to fall apart.  It became clear that things weren’t going to end as we had hoped. 

Where do you go from here? 

What do you do with what you’ve been left with? 

Well, let’s begin with what we cannot do. 

We cannot go back. 

We cannot change the decisions that have already been made. 

We cannot change others. 

It’s an unspeakably difficult place to find ourselves within life!  David found himself in such a place and wrote: 

Psalm 42:5-6;11 

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? 

    Why so disturbed within me? 

Put your hope in God, 

    for I will yet praise him, 

    my Savior and my God. 

6 My soul is downcast within me; 

    therefore I will remember you 

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? 

    Why so disturbed within me? 

Put your hope in God, 

    for I will yet praise him, 

    my Savior and my God. 

David knew that nothing in this world could bring peace to his troubled soul.  He knew that there was only one thing that he needed and only one place to go with his brokenness.  In fact, he described it as a desperation for God earlier in this Psalm. 

Psalm 42:1-2 

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, 

    so my soul pants for you, my God. 

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 

    When can I go and meet with God? 

What we can and must do is to go to the Lord with what is left and seek His will and purpose for it all.  To meet with Him and exchange our unmet desires and expectations for a hunger and thirst for Him.  What we can and must do is to take the pieces that we have left and proceed into a different future than the one that we had in mind. 

When everything falls apart, the two things that we need are hope and a future.  Thankfully, these are the Lord’s plans for all of us!  Not just any hope or any future, but a hope placed fully in Jesus and a future consisting of His plans.  That is the only hope that will never fail us and the only future that is certain! 

This was God’s prophetic promise written down and sent out to all of His discouraged and disheartened people whose lives had been completely uprooted.  They were removed from their homes and loved ones and taken into exile all throughout the kingdom of their enemy and forced to live as slaves in an unfamiliar land and in a culture completely in opposition to God’s ways. 

However, this was not their destiny!  At the right time, God was going to rebuild what had been torn down and take them all back home.  Their role was to simple trust Him with the broken pieces of their lives and to seek Him with their all. 

Jeremiah 29:10-14 

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” 

God’s promise is to, at the right time, take us back; to give us a hope and a future. 

What is God’s purpose and intention behind brokenness? 

Why does He allow things to fall apart for us? 

A few months ago, I was working with a young child putting together a puzzle.  Through that experience, God revealed some things for me to share at just the right time about this very topic.  As they were assembling this large floor puzzle, they encountered some issues that frustrated them.  The challenges that they faced revealed some of the root causes of our life disappointments and discouragements. 

Now things started great!  They ran off to the storage room and only paused for a few moments looking over the shelf where puzzles were kept.  They grabbed the puzzle that they wanted and quickly ran over to a corner in the room and dumped out the pieces and with great joy and enthusiasm got started. 

Very shortly after, that great glee began to turn into an equally passionate and zealous frustration! 

First, the surface that they were working on was uneven.  They quickly found two matching pieces of the puzzle.  When they tried to place them together, they wouldn’t stay together.  They were teetering back and forth because there were other puzzle pieces underneath and they were also working partially on the floor and partially on a rug. 

In their joy of finding the puzzle that they wanted, they didn’t take time to first clear the floor and start building on the right foundation. 

Many of us make the same mistake in life.  We get so blinded by our own desires and what seems right to us that as soon as anything looks similar to it in, we’re all-in.  We dive in head-over-heels and never stop to take the time to seek the Lord.  As a result, we begin to build on a foundation that might partially be God’s plans for us, but not entirely. 

Jesus gave us a parable to illustrate for us that it is important not just to build, but to take the time to choose the right foundation to build upon.  Sadly, it isn’t until time passes and the storms of life put what we’ve built to the test that we then realize what foundation we chose. 

As soon as the child removed the loose pieces and relocate to the smooth floor, those two pieces fit together perfectly and no longer teetered at all! 

Patience is more than a virtue, it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t rush when it comes to building your life!  Take time and seek God each step of the way! 

Matthew 7:24-27 

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 

Even if things have come crashing down in life, it’s never too late!  It’s going to take some work, but Jesus and His word, our firm foundation, is always available to begin building on! 

We often hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see, but only partially listen to what God is saying and look for what He is trying to show us.  As soon as something lines up with part of what He has revealed to us, we believe that this is it and run full speed to begin building. 

Our hearts truly desire to follow God and His plans for us, but we’re impatient people.  We want what we want and when we want it and will often see signs that are not really God speaking to us. 

Samuel almost made the same mistake when anointing the second king over Israel!  This is an account that most of us are familiar with. 

1 Samuel 16:1-13 

1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 

2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” 

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” 

4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” 

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 

Samuel did what God asked Him to do and went where God asked Him to go.  Samuel could have easily stopped listening to God at this point, went with what seemed right, anointed Eliab as king, thought that he did what God wanted him to, and created a huge mess for himself and for the nation of Israel! 

Many of us do exactly this.  We start out following God’s lead, but then let our own will or emotions take over from there and confuse them as God’s direction.  Thankfully, God stepped in for Samuel and He will for us, too, if we intentionally seek Him! 

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.”  

This can be a really confusing place.  You went where God told you to.  You did what God asked you to.  However, you aren’t seeing the results that you expected to see. 

Did you hear God wrong?  Did you go to the wrong place?  At the wrong time?  Did you miss it somehow? 

11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” 

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” 

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in.  

There’s an old adage that states that, “Good things come to those who wait.”  There is certainly some truth in this.  Samuel could have rushed and chose Eliab, but there was one who God had chosen who was even better!  Trust God and patiently wait on Him.  He has good things in store for us! 

He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. 

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. 

Another frustration that this child experienced when putting together this puzzle was choosing the wrong two pieces.  The colors matched, the patterns matched, one jutted out and the other jutted in; the two pieces looked like they belonged together.   

However, the cut just wasn’t matching up between the two.  The child pushed hard, but the two just wouldn’t fit together!  They were the right puzzle pieces, but just not in the right place at the right time. 

God’s timing is perfect.  Which unfortunately means that His timing is rarely our timing.  He has a purpose for the timing and the placement of every piece of our life’s puzzle.  We can’t see the big picture, so it is easy for us to try and force things along ourselves. 

This is why we live by faith and not by sight.  This is why we trust in the Lord whole-heartedly and lean not into our own understanding.  It might make sense to us, but if we try to fit the right piece in at the wrong time, it just won’t work.  It will only prove to be wasted time and effort instead of waiting for the right time to fit that piece into our lives. 

This requires patience and trust on our part.  Just leave every piece in God’s hands and do good with what He has entrusted to you at this time and in this season. 

Psalm 37:3-9 

3 Trust in the Lord and do good; 
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
4 Take delight in the Lord, 
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

5 Commit your way to the Lord; 
    trust in him and he will do this: 
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
    your vindication like the noonday sun. 

7 Be still before the Lord 
    and wait patiently for him; 
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, 
    when they carry out their wicked schemes. 

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; 
    do not fret—it leads only to evil. 
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, 
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 

As soon as the child put down the wrong piece, they could pick up the right piece that belonged on the part of the puzzle that they were currently working on.  That also freed up that piece to be available later when the time was right for it. 

In fact, James even gives us a practical analogy from the natural world to help us to understand why God’s timing is so important. 

James 5:7-11 

7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 

It doesn’t feel merciful and compassionate when we are forced to wait on something that our hearts long for.  That is why God gives us hope as a placeholder to get us from where we are at until the promise is fulfilled. 

Consider the farming analogy. 

Two people both long for green beans.   

One person takes a single green bean seed and plants in in the ground.  45 days later, they have a whole vine full of beans.  If they take just one of those green beans and remove the seeds, they can plant those 4-6 seeds and have 4-6 entirely new vines and have a hundred fold reward for their patience in just 90 days. 

Another person steals a green bean from their neighbor’s plant and lays it in their garden.  They either have to immediately go out and grab that single bean and eat it or wait for it to slowly rot and likely never take root. 

Which will we choose to be? 

Patient trust in God; faith to allow Him to build our lives and grow them to become fruitful and blessed.  This requires allowing Him to place all of the right pieces in the right places at the right time. 

Another frustration for the child is that they had pieces from another puzzle mixed in with their puzzle, but didn’t recognize it.  Samuel could have chosen Eliab and never questioned that decision.  However, he wasn’t the piece that God had chosen for that place and time.   

Once we’ve come to the difficult conclusion that we’ve made the wrong choice, continuing to try to force a fit is pointless and will only lead to further hurt and discouragement.  No matter where and how we try to make that piece fit, if it was not intended by God to be a part of us, then it will simply never work out.  

We have to let it go.  

Whether it be the wrong job, the wrong school, the wrong friend, the wrong church, the wrong car, the wrong anything; we must let it go. This is where healing from hurt begins.  This is where our path can finally begin to re-route from our will to God’s will. 

Solomon wrote this Psalm that reminds us that no matter how hard we work or sacrifice or try, if we’re trying to do it on our own, we’re wasting our time. 

Psalm 127 

1 Unless the Lord builds the house, 
    the builders labor in vain. 
Unless the Lord watches over the city, 
    the guards stand watch in vain. 
2 In vain you rise early 
    and stay up late, 
toiling for food to eat— 
    for he grants sleep to those he loves. 

We all have an innate desire to fit in.  We want things to work out; to come together.  None of us want to waste our time working toward something that just isn’t going to happen anyways. 

Our only assurance of this taking place is for us to live in an audience of One.  God is the only One who knows us completely and accepts us fully.  He is the only One who can work all things, ALL THINGS, together for good. 

His mercy and grace are big enough to forgive our past, heal our present, and to carry us forward into our future.  That is, if we’re willing to surrender all of the pieces up to Him and trust His lead from this point forward. 

As soon as the piece to someone else’s puzzle was removed from the child’s hand, they could pick up a piece to their own puzzle and begin building successfully again. 

The Lord has a glorious day planned for our tomorrow.  Will we be brave and courageous enough to let go and move on?  Will we let go of the fear that forces us to hold on so tightly and replace it with faith that when we let go, God will hold us?  Will we allow God to reassure us that it’s not only going to be OK, it’s going to be better than what we had planned? 

Perhaps things are only falling apart so that they can be put in their right place?  Perhaps they are only falling apart so that they can be picked back up at the right time and put in the right place?  Perhaps they are only falling apart so that they can be rebuilt on a firm foundation? 

Let’s trust God, our rebuilder!