Fall forward YouVersion Devotional

Dealing With Life-Altering Events

Years ago on a Sunday night, a phone call forever changed my life. My brother had been killed. I know God hears us any time we pray. I’ve prayed driving down the road. I’ve prayed kneeling by my bed. This event made me crave the nearness of God. I physically yearned to be as near to Him as possible. On Monday after Kirk’s death, my husband and I went to church and knelt at the altar. I begged God to make sense of this nightmare and that somehow He would be glorified. 

Years later, I asked my brother’s daughter about that night. She said she prayed God would keep her from becoming bitter. When I asked my mother, she said she prayed without words. When my father was asked, his chin quivered. There is no doubt my father prayed. He is one of the most Godly-men I have ever known. Our church families were praying, too, lifting our burden to our Heavenly Father. Prayers did not bring my brother back, but prayers carried us through the darkest of days. 

When life delivers a blow that breaks you, it is important that you take your brokenness to God. When we give it to Him, then He begins the process of healing as we commit to leaning on Him.  God has a way of bringing something good out of a bad situation. 

On this side of heaven we suffer the consequences of not only our bad decisions, but also the bad decisions of others. In this case, someone had chosen to take my brother’s life. 

How could anything good come from this? 

What I do know is that Kirk is in heaven. He became a Christian at a church camp in July 1977. Even though I miss my brother terribly and hope I never forget his laugh, I cannot diminish the fact that my brother is in heaven with his Heavenly Father. I can be the prayer warrior for the next person who loses a brother to a violent crime. I choose to never take life for granted. I choose to tell people I love them. 

Has life knocked you down? 

Are you hoping good can come from the tragedy? 

Are you relying on your Heavenly Father to take care of the situation? 

Do you have a group of people who can also lift you up in prayer? 

Only God can make something good come from tragedy. 


Character – Day 1


Today’s reading is drawn from Deuteronomy 5:32-33.

Many people desire a quick fix for their character problems. They want some sort of magic wand they can wave over their problems, and—presto!—the problems will be gone. While a person may be able to acquire quick, easy techniques that provide short-term solutions, those don’t help build character that lasts. Ultimately, lasting character is forged on the anvil of experience, self-discipline and dedication. If a person lacks integrity and character, the challenges of life will melt down and undermine any short-term successes.

How can a leader gain wisdom that leads to character development? It won’t be acquired by an unguided groping in darkness. A leader’s search for wisdom must be directed. Its starting point is God’s revelation in the Scripture, and it involves specific injunctions and practical commandments.

Character isn’t shaped by the intellectual comprehension of truth. It’s forged by Biblical truth that penetrates to the depth of the human heart. That only occurs as a man or woman grapples with God’s Word and contemplates its meaning and application. Ultimately, the goal of such a diligent study of God’s revelation is the “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 2:5). A wise leader has a reverential awe of God, holding him in high regard. And that high view of God shapes character, which in turn controls thoughts and actions.

Why does it take time to develop character? How will godly character be revealed in a leader’s life? How will ungodly character be expressed? As you consider where you are in the process of character development, honestly assess your progress on a scale of one (beginner) to ten (flawless). Since you’re probably neither a one nor a ten, thank God for building character in your life and then ask him to help you to continue to grow in this area.


God’s Lamp


The Lord will guide you always. Isaiah 58:11

Trying to talk with an unresponsive older teenager is like inserting dollar bills into a broken change machine—your words go in, but nothing comes back out! Yet it’s vital that you stay in touch with your sons and daughters preparing to leave the nest. At a moment when you least expect it, they may ask for your advice on life’s “big questions”: “I want to follow Jesus, but will He tell me what to do?” Or, “I think God is calling me to the ministry, but how can I support a family on a pastor’s salary?”

These are the times to gently put your arms around your kids and remind them of God’s infinite love: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). God, the ultimate parent, will never abandon any of us or ignore a request for guidance. His Word is “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). That doesn’t mean He gives us a three-hundred-watt beam that reveals the entire landscape. But the Lord will illuminate our next step, and we must trust Him to lead us through the darkness beyond.

Your teen won’t be ready to discuss these deep scriptural insights every day. But if you stay close to your son or daughter, you’ll know just the right moment to drop in a few wise words from the Lord.

Before you say good night…

What “big questions” are on your kids’ minds right now?

What advice do you want to give them? Is it based on Scripture?

Are your kids trusting God to light their paths, one step at a time?

Father, we pray right now that You would grant us divine discernment. Help us to know our children as You know us, to see beyond their resistance and facades. Give us words of love and wisdom as we respond to their greatest struggles. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.