It Rarely Is What It Is

Sharon JaynesWhen You Don't Like Your Story 32 Comments

I often hear people say, “It is what it is.” What they mean is, the situation is not going to change, so just accept it; get over it! Let me tell you why I don’t like the saying. “It” rarely is what it looks like it is. In fact, what we think the situation is, usually isn’t what it is at all.


The Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi is a perfect example of something not being at all what it looks like it is. Because of a drought in their hometown of Bethlehem, Naomi, her husband and two sons, moved to Moab. Her sons married Moabite women, but in a ten-year period, all three men died. Naomi heard the famine in Bethlehem was over, so she decided to move back home. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, stayed behind, but the other, Ruth, insisted on going with her.


Naomi was so downcast and discouraged that her very countenance made her unrecognizable to those she had known before. When Naomi heard the whispers as she walked by, she stopped and said, “Don’t call me Naomi [which means pleasant]. Call me Mara [which means bitter], because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 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” (Ruth 1:20–21).


I’ve heard the same resentment toward God in the voices of others experiencing disappointment and discouragement. I bet you have too. For some of us, the voice we heard was our own. I can almost hear her saying, “It is what it is!”


It may feel that God is on a long lunch break during our difficult chapters, but remember, He’s always working behind the scenes. He is the Almighty, the All-Sufficient One, whether or not we can feel it in the moment.


God’s hand was not against Naomi. He wasn’t intent on afflicting her, as she claimed. Naomi was so blinded by grief and bitterness she couldn’t recognize God’s gracious provision walking right beside her in the form of a Moabite girl whose name meant “woman friend.”


Once they arrived, she decided to go out and glean wheat behind the pickers—to gather the scraps others dropped while working. Even though she knew it would be dangerous for a Moabite woman to venture into an Israelite field, she took a chance in order to provide for herself and Naomi.


Okay, now, picture this. There must have been dozens of fields she could have picked. Pick a field, any field. She picked one, or did she?


As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek” (2:3, emphasis added). Another translation says, “Now she just happened to


She just happened to end up in Boaz’s field? I hope you don’t believe that for a minute. I can almost see God pointing her in the right direction. Boaz was Ruth’s deceased husband’s kinfolk; a relative Naomi had all but forgotten—though God hadn’t forgotten at all. He was working behind the scenes faster than those gleaners could bundle those sheaves.


In the end, Boaz became Naomi’s go’el, her kinsman redeemer, when he also became Ruth’s husband. Shortly after Boaz and Ruth were married, she conceived and bore a son named Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David, who was in the lineage of Jesus. So, “it is what it is” wasn’t what it was after all.


Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). That means that when we look at a situation and think “it is what it is,” we may have no earthly idea what God’s doing behind the scenes.


Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I know that what I see with my eyes is not all there is to any situation. I trust that You are working out everything for my good, to grow me and shape me into the image of Your Son. And for that I am grateful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

When is one time in your life when you thought you knew what was going on, but later realized you didn’t?


What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? I know that they can!

 Check out my book to see how the pages you’d like to tear out of your story could become the ones that God uses the most. If you feel stuck in a bad chapter, this book will help you move forward in freedom and victory! Includes a Bible study guide.

Forward to a Friend

Did someone forward this devotion to you?
Click Here to Subscribe

Comments 32

  1. Wow, you really lifted my spirit and reminded me that God is working even when we don’t see it. Thank you, may the Lord continue to use you. Blessed day

  2. I am so thankful for your words of encouragement…As I looked upon my situation I confident to trust God knowing that he is working behind the scenes of each children-including myself…God blessed you a thousand folds…

  3. Please pray for my mother. She has been suffering for a while. We got a diagnosis of cancer. She is weak and can’t have chemo right now. We are waiting to speak with the dr to see what are her options.

  4. I usually turn this a little bit. If I believe that God’s plans always work out for His Glory then what I am going through ‘is what it is” until His plan comes to completion. I love the book of Ruth. It is an encouraging story for us all.God always has a plan.

  5. My husband is sick right now and it seems like he’s always frustrated and angry it’s a range of emotions is very difficult to deal with yesterday we had a terrible misunderstanding and it wasn’t what I thought it was….. You’re right there’s always some layers to unpack you just have to be willing to look at what lies beneath

  6. Very good, Sharon.! Thank you for those words.

    I have seen God do this in my life and recently in my friend’s life. These are things that happened decades ago, and we are just now seeing what God was doing, how he was working it for our good. He is so very GOOD! ❤️

  7. Well written. Can certainly learn from this illustration. Also, it gives an imoortant insight, that Godvis on the seen if we will just carry on.

  8. I was working at Island Palms Hotel and Restaurant as a waitress and receptionist. I thought that that was the only job I can do. I thought I was satisfied with the salary. And then Covid-19 struck the world. It had an impact on the tourism industry and Island Palms. Because of less customers my hours were shortened. I was only working 2 days a week. I cried out to God, “is this what you want me to do the rest of my life?” Then my dad got me an application for a secretarial position at the National Government and I applied thinking I will never get it after applying for a job at the National Government for 14 years. Then President Donald Trump introduced the Stimulus for the Tourism Industry. My hours were cut but I was able to get thousands of dollars. I bought a car, tithed at my church, and paid off my bills. Then a week after I bought a car I got a call from the National Government that they picked me for the secretarial job. I was financially secured and felt at peace with my new job and co-workers. Everyone were professional, educated, and mature. I was so amazed by God how he orchestrated everything. I thought God forgot about me but his ways and plans are way much better.

  9. Thank you! I am facing challenges at work. The last 4 months have almost been unbearable! I have held faith throughout this time and God has opened a door and provided me with a new job that I will start in April!
    What the devil meant for bad, God meant it for my good! I’m so very grateful! God is so faithful & worthy of all praise!

  10. My husband and I try hard to remember God is in control in this dark section of our lives. He knows what he is doing. No doubt about that. I just wish I could see the ending. Like reading the last chapter of the book first. Please pray for me to keep trusting

  11. This past Sunday the children in Sunday school made seed balls to toss into the gardens at their homes. This devotional reminds me that God is shaping me like the kids shaped their seed balls, to grow me into what he has planned for my life. Thanks for the beautiful reminder that it’s not always what it looks like.

  12. Thank you! Your words helped shed light on a situation in my life that I’ve wrestled to understand. I felt exactly like Naomi! I felt abandoned. I can work on changing my perspective of how I choose to view the grief I experienced.. I needed to be reminded that He was there with me after all.

  13. I often use the phrase “it is what it is”, knowing that I can’t change the situation, but knowing that God is in control of whatever that situation may be. Thanks for your encouraging words.

  14. Wow! Thank you for the reminder. It was something I needed today for this part of my earthly journey and at a time when there is a big decision I must make! God is always working and today He reminded me of that fact in my own life! God bless you. what a timely message for my life.

  15. He is miracle worker . Every day and every little or big miracle. You have to open your eyes to see it all . Thank you 🙏🏾

  16. Loved it when you said “she just happened to to end up” I will be using that in my talk with God and to Praise him. Lord Let me happen to end up with friends who Love God and Love People. I just happen to end up at the right church, I just happen to end up with the right Job and Just happen to end up in the place that God chooses for me to live. I LOVE it Thank You.

  17. I just watched a sermon from Elevation church on Monday afternoon on the book of Ruth talking about the same thing and then open my email Tuesday morning to read this devotional!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *