Last week I had the privilege of preaching for the first time.
Now, anyone who knows me personally or who has followed this blog for a while may be saying, “You’ve been preaching for years.” But last week was the first time I’d been invited to speak…in a church…from a pulpit…with the express purpose of bringing the Word.
I was nervous and exhilarated and humbled that God would choose me for such an awesome and important task. But the word He gave me for this young adult audience was unique and on-time…just as He is and just as our relationship is.
Gratefully, my dear friend Penny videoed the entire 13-minute sermon. Take a few minutes, check it out, and commit to #bepetty for Jesus.
And I have to give credit to the amazing Awesomely Luvvie who is the genius behind all the “petty” names at the end. Pick up her petty T-shirt here! *And no, she didn’t ask me to endorse this and I’m not being compensated. Just giving a shout out to something/someone who inspired me.
Blessings to you! I hope it inspires you and speaks to your situation.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
As children of God, we’re His sheep. He calls us by name and we follow him…and Him only. It’s a critical goal of our walk – to learn and decipher His voice from the “noise” of life – but we so often fall short.
In life, so many other things beckon for us and our attention. The enemy wants us to follow the money, or the “in-crowd.” He wants us to follow what feels right or what the world dictates. Chase that promotion. Chase that girl/guy. Follow that high. Walk this way.
The enemy calls our names…but we shouldn’t answer. We shouldn’t follow him. In fact, Jesus says (and I’m paraphrasing here, “Nah, son, they with me. I betchu they won’t follow you. Mine is the only voice they know.”
So if our lives are the only God some folks see if. If we know there is a group of folks looking for a reason to discredit our Father and our Savior, when we choose to listen to AND FOLLOW voices that aren’t our Shepherd’s, we’re in effect calling Jesus a liar.
Now, fret not. God’s gon’ get ALL His glory, whether it’s from you and me or not. (Remember those rocks?) But I can’t help but to think…
Who you callin’ a liar?!
I for one don’t want to be responsible for calling my Risen Saviour a liar simply because I couldn’t control my flesh, or because I thought I knew better, or I couldn’t get past what I wanted for what He has ordained.
Nope. I’m good. Because the last I checked it was the devil who was a liar. See how crafty he is?!
Stop telling people “God won’t put more on you than you can bear.”
That’s not Bible.
The truth is that He WILL put more on us than we can bear. It’s how He grows our faith and trust in Him. If He didn’t strategically and purposefully allow adversity in our lives, we wouldn’t come to know His power for ourselves and then trust Him more and more. And if He didn’t allow situations where we were forced to trust Him, how could we ever come to a place where we could have faith for the “exceedingly abundantly” He’s already promised us?
I mean, how could you trust God for that bill being paid, that job, that car, that house, or that healing if you hadn’t already learned through experiencing Him yourself in your challenges that He’s able?
If He didn’t put more on us than we could bear, we wouldn’t need Him and we certainly wouldn’t need Jesus. Heck, we’d be our own saviors every time.
This is why the Bible says we should rejoice in our weaknesses because it gives God a chance to show Himself strong, to show up and show off on our behalf.
With the things I’m fighting, the things I’ve been through, the things you’re up against and been through, you would have lost your natural mind, maybe even taken your own life BUT for God.
I absolutely believe that God puts more on me than I can bear — not overcome, but bear — because otherwise how will He prepare me for what’s to come? What testimony would I have if I never had to cry out to Him in my dark places? And what kind of faith would I have if I didn’t have to believe — while I sat in those dark places, even as tears streamed — that He’d purposed that moment to bless me only AFTER He guaranteed that the weapon wouldn’t prosper and that I would win, it would all work to my good?
I don’t know who else I’m talking to right now, but know this: you ain’t always gotta be strong. He wants you to let Him be your strength. To grow you, to grow your faith, and to increase your expectation in Him.
God’s got more for you on the other side of this — no matter what your “this” is.
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
As I read and re-read this passage this morning, the thing that really stuck in my Spirit was the tense of the words the author chose.
Preceding verse five, the author was crying out to God, asking Him how long will he endure struggle, imploring our Savior to answer him, to show up.
But then we get to verse five and something amazing happens. The sense of woe ends sharply and, if we look closely enough, we see a change — not in the author’s circumstances, but in his perspective.
Verse five begins with the word “but.” The word “but” can play a number of roles in English grammar. It can be a preposition, an adverb. However, in this use I believe it’s most important as a conjunction, a word to add together groups of words. That’s what’s important to note: even though a change is occurring in the author, nothing has changed in his circumstances. Rather, he’s chosen to use what he’s going through as a part of what’s to come.
Further, any good grammarian will also point out that the use of “but” also signifies that everything before it is now inconsequential in reference to what will follow.
My bills are due and I don’t know how I’m going to pay them, BUT…
My body is ill and the doctors say they don’t know what more they can do, BUT…
The vision You gave me is too big/expensive/scary and I don’t know if I can accomplish it BUT…
They said they’d always be there for me, and they’re gone now that I need them, BUT…
It feels like I’m going through this all alone, BUT…
The verse goes on, after signaling a change in the author’s perspective to say, “But I trust in your unfailing love.”
“I trust.” That’s current. That’s present. That’s now. And, following the author’s please for response, and then his decision to shift his focus, “I trust” being present tense tells us that even though all hell was breaking out in this man’s life, the hell didn’t negate his faith. In essence he’s showing us that even as he’s going through it and doesn’t know how much more he can or even when God will will show up, he still trusts in God’s unfailing love.
The author knows that no matter how badly it hurts, or how uncomfortable what he’s going through is, his circumstances do not affect or reflect the fact that God loves him and that God’s love never fails. It never falters. It never doesn’t reach us. It never judges us. It never decides to show up today and not tomorrow. It never abandons us because we’ve sinned or doubted. God’s love just is.
You need to know that trials and trust are not and should not be mutually exclusive in your life. They will not be exclusive. In fact, this scripture shows us that trust in the Lord is ever more important when we’re going through our trials. That trust is a reminder that we aren’t in it alone, that God still cares, and that He isn’t oblivious to what we’re going through. Trials and trust in God go hand in hand.
The verse then goes on to say, “I will rejoice because you have rescued me.”
Now this is where it gets really good, where the “but” has shown us that the author’s perspective is changing, and the “I trust” show us what the author’s two conflicting states of mind are, “I will rejoice” shows us a decision.
“Will” is future tense. It also reflects a decision. The author, even though he’s going through hell, even though it doesn’t appear that God has reached out to save him, he knows that in spite of his uncomfortable circumstances that God still loves him unfailing. And, as a result of that knowledge, the author decides that he will rejoice.
Right there in the midst of his hell.
Right there in the midst of his storm, his trial, his going through.
Right there with the overdrawn bank account.
Right there with the 100th no call back after applying for a job.
Right there with the raggedy car that won’t start.
Right there with the daycare closed and no way for you to watch the kids and go to work.
Right there with the rent/mortgage being due and no money to pay it.
Right there with that unreliable friend/partner.
Right there in the midst of those silent cries alone at night.
Right in the thick of it, the author decides, no matter what it looks like or feels like, I am going to rejoice. And that’s an important decision because the Bible tells us that when we choose to celebrate in the midst of our adversity it confuses the enemy.
In fact, when I looked at the word “rejoice” in my concordance, I learned this:
the original word used here is a Hebrew verb
in the Bible it’s used to mean to exult and to be glad
Strong’s Concordance goes on to define it as “to spin around (under the influence of any violent emotion)…be glad, joy, be joyful…”
Whoa. “To spin around under the influence of any violent emotion.” To me, that means that all of the anger, the fear, the frustration, the helplessness, the pain, and every other intense emotion the author was feeling as he cried out to God in the beginning of the chapter was still there.
Even as he decided to change his perspective, he then decided he would force himself to be glad, pouring out all of the negative emotions the enemy wanted to use to oppress and depress him as positive praise for a God that never fails — even, and especially, when hell is breaking out all around us.
Then the verse continues with, “because you have rescued me.”
“Because” is a preposition here. It’s setting us up to understand why. Everything that comes after because tells us why the author’s perspective changed and why he forced himself to praise God in the middle of his turmoil.
And why did he, you ask? “Because you [God] has rescued me.”
Don’t miss that: “rescued” is past tense.
It’s already done.
Before this storm erupted. Before all hell broke loose. Before I lost all my money. Before he or she walked out. Before the doctor gave me the diagnosis. Before the bills became due. Before I lost my job. Before I cried myself to sleep.
Before it all even happened, God had already rescued you. He’d already saved you. He’d already provided. He’d already blessed you. He’d already made a way.
And get this, once a person or a thing has been rescued, that which threatened them can no longer harm them.
So before you started “going through” God had already seen to it that what you would go through wouldn’t hurt you, couldn’t hurt you.
That means that before the storm even erupted in your life, God had already made you victorious over it.
Look, tense matters. Tense matters in this scripture because it reminds us that everything that happened before we were saved, before we prayed, before we rejoiced, before we decided to worship God is no longer important and never could touch us.
And tense matters because if you’re still overcome with the emotion your circumstances have you feeling, then this scripture is a roadmap to peace.
Tense matters because where you are has no bearing on WHOSE you are or where you WILL be.
Tense matters because if He did it back then. If He did it before. He’s the same God, with the same unfailing love. He WILL show up and show out on your behalf this time, too.
Tense matters because how we choose our thoughts and words dictates whether we remain stuck in a place where we’re telling our God — Who’s already saved us — about our problems, or whether we’ll choose to move to a place where we tell our problems about our God.
Tense matters because we have the God-given authority to change our circumstances, to speak life and death to situations in our lives based solely on the words we speak.
So tense matters. Because you can be going through forever, or you can choose to celebrate the victory you already had now.
It matters. It matters to God. It matters to your storm. It matters for you.
Below is an excerpt of the devotional I shared during the call.
For our topic tonight, I’d like to reference a hymn that actually predates me. It came about in 1979 and was — and remains — quite popular. The hymn is, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” sang by that anointed psalmist, Michael Jackson.
Ok, ok. I’ll admit that “Don’t stop til you get enough” and Michael Jackson aren’t where most folks would find Christ-inspiration, but his song – specifically the hook of “don’t stop til you get enough” – is in fact reminiscent for me of a basic principle in the kingdom: don’t settle.
So tonight, for a few minutes, I want to encourage you to don’t stop til you get enough. Or in other words, to not settle for less than God’s best in your life.
The word of God says that we are to be in this world but not of it, transformed by a renewing our minds (Romans 12:2). Likewise, it says in Jeremiah 29 that God has a plan for us to give us hope and a future, to prosper us not harm us. And then, in Psa 37:4, we’re told that God will give us the desires of our hearts. He’ll literally tell us what we should want so that His plan for our lives can be achieved.
So, for me, adding all of that up, nothing in that says to simply accept what’s offered to you. To go along to get along. Nothing in those promises says we should have low or no expectations in life.
So why then do we, especially women, continue to accept cookie-cutter lives when we serve a radical God who delights in blessing us and Whom the word declares gives us every good and perfect gift?
Why accept the world’s leftovers when God has prepared a table for you? Why accept anything less than God’s best when, as the daughter of the King, His best is in fact your birthright and inheritance?
Why accept following someone else’s career path when you deserve – and were created to accomplish – so much more? Why accept simply living, when you’re called to live life more abundantly? Why accept simply having your “ends meet” from month to month when your God wants you to live in abundance?
Why? Because sometimes we tell ourselves we aren’t good enough or we don’t deserve it. We allow the enemy to tell us that we have to earn our stripes, pay our dues, like everyone else. But I’m here to tell you that Jesus paid it all with HIS stripes so you and I could inherit the Kingdom and all that God has for us. You’ve just got to be committed to not stopping until you get enough. And you’ve gotta be patient until your breakthrough is delivered.
See, when we’re patient, the word tells us in James 1:12, that God will bless us. So if the key to getting God’s best is to be steadfast, patient, in waiting for what God wills, why not wait with expectation for His best instead of settling for what’s quickest or easiest?
See, we’re already told in 2 Cor 1:20 that all of God’s promises are yes in Christ. That means they’re already a done deal, ours to take hold of. If only we’d be patient and not settle. If only we’d make up in our minds to not stop til we get enough.
Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop hoping. Don’t stop expecting. Don’t stop planning. Don’t stop working like it depends on you. Don’t stop praying like it depends on God. Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.
You know, there’s an Internet image going around of two cartoon men, both seemingly digging in the same diamond mine. It appears they’ve been swinging their pickaxes for some time; they appear disheveled, sweaty, and tired. And they also both appear right at the edge of breaking though to an innumerable amount of diamonds right on the other side of a dirt wall ahead of them. Literally, we see them both only a few swings away.
But one of the men has given up; tired from all the digging and plugging away, he’s turned away from the inches of dirt that stand between him and a financial windfall. He walks away disappointed with his pickaxe over his shoulder, defeated. Above him the other man, who’s been digging just as long and as hard, continues to swing his axe. And that’s the motivation for you tonight. Because there’s no way he can be sure of WHEN he’ll break through, but he knows he will eventually and he’s committed to swinging until that breakthrough comes.
If you’re feeling like that first man tonight – beat down, defeated, tired, second-guessing whether what you’re chasing will ever really come to pass – I want to say to you tonight you’re one more swing away from your breakthrough. You’re one more swing away from landing that new client or earning that promotion. You’re one swing away from getting that ring or opening the doors on your new business. Your breakthrough is an arm’s length away. And your pickaxe is your faith in God. Your prayers and your confessions. You are one more prayer away, one more swing away, from God’s breakthrough for you.
Don’t let this world and the people who are of it talk you out of your blessing because their faith is too small or their fear is too big. You must not settle for anything less than the God’s best that you’re pursuing.
You must not give up or give in. Even if you journey on alone. Even if they can’t understand your passion or why it’s so important to you. Even if you are starting to wonder if you’ll ever get it, if it worth it anyway, I say to you tonight…
Please forgive me for the radio silence! I’ve been super busy turning my passion for encouraging and equipping others into a luncheon series designed to do just that for women. I launched the Leap Luncheon Series™ at the prompting of the Holy Spirit in January of this year to help connect women with other successful women thought leaders, business owners/runners, and game changers.
As God continues to bless this initiative with even greater speakers and more women in attendance each time, I feel compelled to agree with women all over that the desires and dreams that God’s give them will come to pass; that they will take LEAPs of Faith this year into the new territories God has claimed just for them.
So tomorrow I’m going to start a 5-week prayer call for women looking to make LEAPs this year. I want to encourage, intercede for, and agree with women who are seeking and praying for breakthroughs in their lives.
The LEAP of Faith Prayer Call™ will be every Tuesday evening at 7pm for 45 minutes for the entire month of June (June 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30). I’ll do a brief devotional at the beginning of the call, ask if there are any new prayer requests, and will then pray for everyone and the requests I receive. The line will be muted during the actual prayer.
I invite you to join us! You may send in your prayer requests – either with your name or anonymously – via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via my web form here. Requests will need to be in to me by 8pm ET the day before the call (so tonight).
Whether you feel led to join us or not, I ask for your prayers for me in this endeavor. Not for MY success, but for my complete erasure so that God speaks and moves for everyone who calls in.
I also invite you to invite women in your network whom you believe would appreciate some encouragement and prayer. My prayer is that by getting support and encouragement, women as a whole will feel empowered to go after and live the lives they desire, the one’s God’s ordained for them, instead of just accepting the circumstances and situations they face.
And for those curious, the scriptural foundation (and purpose of my Leap Luncheons) – Hebrew 10:24 – is also my goal and compass for these calls.
I believe so strongly that God has more for women – for each of you and those who will join the call – and I’m committed to doing what I can to see that you all get the MORE God’s already named as yours!
Thanks in advance for your support! I’m praying God’s blessing over the LEAPs you’re going to take this year as well!
I remember my favorite actor, Morgan Freeman, saying that in one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption.”
In the movie, all of the lead stars were prisoners, in prison with long sentences ahead of them. Most had been in there their entire adult lives.
Freeman’s character, “Red”, was telling a new inmate that for those imprisoned with no end or liberty in sight, hope can be a dangerous thing. It can cause you to go crazy – waiting on and anxiously anticipating the unseen.
But the “new fish” in the cell block, “Andy”, rebuffed that analysis. He countered that in fact, in times of imprisonment, hope is the strongest tool one has to not just make it, to survive, but to do so with some peace and even confidence.
There are so many imprisoned today. Not just in the literal sense of serving time, but in the figurative as well.
There are those who feel trapped in dead-end jobs, relationships, circumstances, and storms.
Some feel like they’ll never crawl from beneath the boulder of debt (raises both hands), fear, guilt, or shame crushing them.
There are those who’ve been fighting for liberty from injustices and past wrongs; addictions and disappointments; pain and sadness.
If that’s you, and you’re reading this desperate for some sign that God has not forgotten you in your struggle, I say to you, KEEP HOPE ALIVE.
Hope is what keeps you open and aware during your struggle so that when your breakthrough comes you’ll know it, you’ll be expecting it, and you won’t prolong your stay going through hell.
Hope is what drives you to pray harder, work smarter, and zero in on what lies ahead with expectation and faith-filled promise that tomorrow will be better than your today.
I’d agree with Red, too, and say that hope is indeed a dangerous thing. It sets you apart from others, giving you a divine confidence. Hope will make you creative and bold. It’ll give you wisdom and reveal new levels of faith.
Hope was how Peter, Paul, Silas, Daniel, and 3 Hebrew Boys not only made it out of their trials, their prisons, but remained standing throughout their ordeals.
And it’s how you are and will, too.
Allow yourself to hope in the Lord. That hope, that belief in your gut that God didn’t bring you all the way here to leave you, to let this one situation take you out, is where you’ll draw the strength you need to stand.
Hope in the Lord. Hope for better days in your finances, your health, your relationships, your jobs, and your prayers. Hope because you know His promises and because His word is still true: He will never leave you, never forsake you.
Hope even when the people behind you and around you say you’re crazy and look at you funny.
Hope when the devil tries to make things even worse.
Hope when you’ve done all that you know how to.
Hope when your last dollar was gone days ago and it feels like you’ve got nowhere to turn.
Hope because it gives God a clear path to show up and show off on your behalf, in your situation.
Hope because when you’re cornered God stands before you to fight your battle and lead you clear out.
Because hope, you see, holds the key to your breakthrough.
Hope makes you dangerous because when you’ve decided to not accept what you see as the end then there’s nothing around you that can hurt you or hold you back anymore.
I HOPE that something I’ve written here confirms for you that God has heard your prayers and seen your tears.
He knows the bills are due.
He knows what the doctors have said.
He knows you don’t want to be alone, that you want to have a child.
He knows you’re tired and lonely and sad.
He sees you.
And all He needs to turn it all around for you is your hope.
So, as the Bible says in Romans 15:13 AMP, may the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.
For the past day or so, I’ve been listening to The Walls Group album “Fast Forward” almost non-stop. (if you haven’t heard it, you should! It’s awesome!) And one song has been on repeat in my Spirit — I woke up singing it: “God on My Mind (feat. Brandy).”
Now, I’ll admit, a minuscule part of the reason why the song resonates for me is because it samples Brandy’s “Always on My Mind,” and hers was the first CD I ever owned back in middle school.
But this morning, when I woke up singing the song’s chorus, God gave me a revelation about its lyrics. They go:
From the mountains to the seas, from the day that we believed to the beginning of time. I can’t get you off my mind. From the stars in space, to that empty grave, no matter how hard I try I can’t get God off my mind. Always on my mind, your always on my mind. Thoughts of you all the time, your always on my mind.
I’ve listened to the song so many times and found myself inspired by the aspirational quality of these words. I aspire to have God on my mind ALL the time. In fact, the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV to “16 Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing,18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” And what more is prayer than thinking of and talking to God?
But this morning, the Holy Spirit gave me this epiphany: “You’re always on God’s mind. He never stops thinking of you. He’s obsessed.”
And suddenly, the lyrics had even greater meaning.
“From the mountains to the seas…”– No matter where we are or end up physically, nothing can separate us from the love of God. He loves us so big and so wide and so deeply, that even when we stray from Him – physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, whatever – He’s still thinking of us.
“…from the day that we believed to the beginning of time..” — The Bible tells us in Jeremiah that before we were even in our mothers’ wombs, God knew us. Even then, He was thinking of us. And as we grew up, even before we chose Him, He was thinking about us enough to send his Son to die in our place. From before our lives started and every moment since, we’ve been on God’s mind.
“Always on my mind, your always on my mind. Thoughts of you all the time, your always on my mind.” — And His obsession with us is consistent. It’s constant. He is always thinking about us. It, like Him, is unchanging.
Isn’t that overwhelming? To consider that God is always thinking about me. About you. Your situation. Your hardships and trials. Your joys and successes. What’s important to you. What you’re worried about. What you fear. What you need.
Every moment of your life, God is thinking of you. Nothing surprises Him. No circumstance sneaks up on Him. He knew. He knows. He’s thinking of you.
I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I hope you’ll know this: God is absolutely obsessed with you. You’re the apple of His eye and, because you’re so important to Him, He’s made you more than a conqueror; He’s defeated your every foe; and He is always working things out to benefit you. He’s thought about all you’ll ever need and want, and has created a plan to give you hope and a future. To bless you.
God can’t get you off His mind.
So walk through today in godly confidence that the Creator of the world, the King of all nations, the Alpha and Omega is thinking about you. Right. Now.
Some of you may remember that last Thursday I finally brought to fruition a God idea nearly a year in the making.
But what no one knows (save my husband and my Mama) is that the day before my big event was bookmarked with disappointment.
The day started with me receiving word that I had not won a Chase Mission Main Street small business grant for my small business.
Disappointed is an understatement for how I felt. I felt abandoned, alone, angry, sad and overwhelmed all at once.
Just like that, the way I thought God was going to move in my life had changed. And I was left with the overwhelming heaviness of the reality of my situation. My goals for my business, the debt my family had amassed supporting my business, they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
I cried a lot that morning. I couldn’t sleep I was so grief-stricken. And when I got into the shower, I broke down. The tears and the anger and the hurt all flowed freely. I was overcome.
But somehow, mid-rant, I found myself humming this song: “Lord You are good and your mercy endureth forever. Lord You are good and your mercy endureth forever!…I worship you! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
Even now, a week later, I remember clearly the puzzled look that crept across my face when I realized the dichotomy of the moment: here I am sobbing into the shower stream on the outside, but my Spirit was praising God.
The reality is that nowhere does God say we won’t be disappointed. Similarly, nowhere does He say we aren’t allowed to feel, to have emotional, human responses to the changes in our lives.
So even as our flesh mourns, if we stay prayed up, our Spirit will minister to us…even without out participation.
In fact, as I reflect now, I smile at the thought of a scripture that the Lord brought me to in my devotion. It was Job talking, chapter 13, verse 15a: “God may kill me, but I will trust Him…” That’s how I felt in that shower, ranting about how sad and disappointed I was. Reminding God of His word and His promises. (He’d later – much more politely, I might add – remind me that HOW He plans to fulfill the promises of His word is none of my business. My only responsibility is to believe and expect that He will.)
The corresponding disappointment bookmark came later that Thursday evening. My day ended with my best subcontractor giving me 30 days notice. She’d gotten a job offer for a job that was perfect for her and where she wanted to go. For months, I’d been praying that God would enable me to hire her full-time. But, it wasn’t to be.
Here’s the part that pulled me out of my pity party and put my day in perspective, directly from the blog:
13 Bible Verses & 6 Steps to Overcome Disappointment
Believe in God’s plan. Our God is a miracle worker. He can part waters, move boulders, heal the dead (not just the sick, remember, the dead), save, destroy, bless, and curse. He can do anything, everything, things beyond our comprehension.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
When I say you have to believe, I mean you have to believe that God has got this thing in His hands. He is looking out for you. He is working out a plan that is bigger than you, and you are going to be better for it in the end.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes, it takes a painful disappointment to teach us a skill or strengthen our faith or to put us in the right place at the right time. We don’t know His ways or His thoughts. We just have to believe in His promise.
Grieve. Things have not gone the way you wanted. Your hopes and expectations have been defeated. You need to spend some quiet time being sad, mourning the way you thought things would be.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Cry. Exercise. Read. Do whatever it is that releases the sadness, the disappointment, the defeat.
And then, eventually, you have to stop grieving and move on.
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5
Disappointment is not meant to define you, my friend. It is not meant to hold you hostage or weigh you down into the mire of depression. Don’t give it that power.
Pray. You had to know this was coming, right? Spend some time talking to your Heavenly Father. Tell Him your heartache. Tell Him about the plans you had and ask Him to show you why He’s taken them away. I promise you that He has good in this for you, and it’s okay to ask Him what that good is.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28
Talk to Him like you’d talk to your best friend. Your prayer doesn’t have to be pretty or sound like one at your church. It just has to be honest and come from your heart.
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22
You, my friend, are the godly. You are chasing after God, trying to do the right thing, seeking a better understanding of Him. Aren’t you? He’s talking about you.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Listen and wait. Big things happen when we pray. Sometimes, they are blessings beyond our expectations.
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
Sometimes they happen right away, but usually they happen later when we least expect them. Keep waiting. You’ll know when your prayer has been answered.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalms 27:14
Search for the good. This is a miserable time to try to be thankful. I don’t know about you, but all I want to do is wallow in self pity of my dreams deferred (or dreams lost). This is the time when it’s hardest – and most important – to find the good, grab onto it with both hands, and celebrate it. You need to.
This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
In beginning this post in the middle of the night, I came to understand that it wouldn’t have happened if my plans had worked out. I wouldn’t have been sleeping fitfully. I wouldn’t have jumped out of bed to write these words. It was God’s plan for me to write these words. (It has been an incredibly soothing and cathartic process). It is also His plan for you to be reading them right now. I am thankful that He chose me.
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19b-20
Believe in yourself. You too are part of God’s great plan. He is preparing you to do His work right now, even in this time of disappointment. No matter what burden comes, know that He will help you stand underneath it, carry it up the hill, and triumph over it in the end.*
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
God believes in you. You may not feel equipped to handle this on your own, but He’ll give you what you need to get through it.
For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
*The triumph doesn’t always happen when we think it should. Sometimes, we only triumph over our struggles as we leave this broken world. A conversation I had with my pastor illustrates this point:
“Tara, God will heal her.”
“I just don’t know that He will. She is so sick. She hardly gets out of bed.”
“He is going to heal her. He might heal her body now, or He might heal her soul in heaven, but you can trust Him to heal her.”
Wow. The simplicity and immensity of that statement left me with many tears but complete peace. We can trust Him to defeat our disappointment, no matter what it is.
Look, I don’t know where your disappointment lies.
Maybe it’s in a relationship that ended, or never took off. A professional opportunity that passed you by. Or a personal dream that has yet to come to fruition.
Whatever it is, I hope these passages encourage you. No matter how disappointed we feel, nothing has changed with God: He’s still just as in love with us; just as dedicated to our success and peace and joy; just as committed to giving us “hope and a future.”
Sometimes, just sometimes, we have to go through the disappointment to get closer to our destiny.
Because sometimes the thing we really wanted wasn’t God’s best for us. And what is yet to come is infinitely better.