Life Isn’t Fair

Steve Arterburn

When you experience unfairness in life, the examples of the prophet Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will give you encouragement and direction. Despite their lives of obedience, Daniel and his friends weren’t protected from God’s judgment on their nation, Judah.  Innocence doesn’t automatically protect you from tragedy.  But you do have the assurance that God is concerned about what you’re doing, and He will honor your faithfulness and obedience.

Daniel and his friends sought to live according to God’s plan, but they found that others opposed their efforts.  This led initially to great danger, but ultimately a great victory.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to walk through a fiery furnace because they obeyed God. Only the ropes that bound them were burned by the fire.

Then when he was 80 years old, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions because he was faithful to God, but he walked out unscathed.  God used these trials to bring blessings to his servants and glory to himself.  As you seek to be obedient to God, he may lead you into some difficult situations.  But more often than not God uses such trails to strengthen your character and bless you.  

If Daniel and his friends hadn’t believed that God was sovereign, they might have decided that compromise was better than risking their lives.  But then they wouldn’t have experienced the glorious victories God gave them. What an affirmation of God’s faithfulness!  

Get It? Good!

Steve Arterburn

When Rick Warren, my pastor, finishes making a point, he’ll often ask the congregation, ‘Get it?’

To which everyone responds, ‘Got it!’

He then punctuates his point with a hearty, ‘Good!’

The most important word picture Jesus painted of God is that of a loving Father’merciful, yet strong. That’s why God, at times, appears unconcerned with preserving our dignity or catering to our emotions. He’s in the character carving business, and if there is some discomfort along the way, then so be it.

For the man who is willing to trust God’s way and be God’s man, even when it hurts, great reward awaits. It’s important to God that we understand this part of it too. It’s like the experience of a big win in sports’a hard-fought victory that sticks with you. You’re changed by it. And the next time you’re in the heat of battle, you know what to expect. You’re better for the experience.

Throughout your life, you’ll inevitably come to forks in the road. And sometimes, one path may look easier than the other. Never make your decision based on that. In fact, when standing before that fork, it’s often the more challenging path’that is, the path that’ll test your character more’that’s the better path.

Those paths that look so daunting at the start are often the same paths we’re later glad we took. For as Romans 5:4 assures us, perseverance creates character, and character produces hope.

Get it? (pause) Good!

Truthfulness In Depression

Steve Arterburn

When you’re feeling depressed, it can be very helpful to read encouraging passages from the Bible out loud. Everyone goes through ups and downs. We all seek spiritual renewal. And we all struggle with conflicting emotions’sometimes even teetering between the extremes of despair and hope. Confessing God’s truth out loud can remind you that His truth supersedes anything you may feel or think on your own.


Set some time aside to reflect on Psalm 42 and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The psalmist spoke the truth to himself when he was feeling down, saying, ‘Why am I so downcast? Why am I so sad? I’ll put my hope in God! It’s true; I’m deeply discouraged right now. But my present discouragement doesn’t define my life, my God, or me. Therefore, I’m committed to remembering your kindness, oh Lord. I’ll confess it openly. Each day You lavish your unfailing love upon me.’


You see, despite the psalmists’ troubling situation, he remembered that God really is a good and loving God. He was stubborn in his refusal to let his present circumstances blind him to the fact that God is God! One important way he did this was speaking this truth to himself. Then he wrote it down for our instruction, and our example.

Men, the greatest truth we can speak is that the Lord has been good to us in the past, and that He’s still good to us today. Meditate upon it; confess it; impress it upon your heart, and be encouraged.