What do you do when things don’t work out exactly as you’ve planned, expected, or prayed for?
The fact is life doesn’t always go the way we planned. Sometimes unexpected things happen. We receive bad news, there is trouble at work or home, cars break down, and family members say and do things that hurt or annoy us. We can suffer disappointment, loss and even failure.
Jesus never said we wouldn’t have trials, in fact He warned us we would. But He did promise that when we walk with Him, we will overcome them, and that “ALL things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I’ve learnt that we can’t judge how much God loves us by our circumstances. God loves us regardless of our circumstances, and His plan is always good even when we don’t understand why some things happen.
When something in our life fails to go according to plan there are a few things we would be wise NOT to do.
1.Don’t throw up our hands and give up. There is no point in quitting. Sometimes we may need to adjust our course a little, but if we know that God is in what we are doing, and we are praying and seeking to live His ways, we can’t just give up. Our answer and our results just haven’t shown up yet. It’s God’s job to keep His promises, and ours to keep believing.
2.Don’t get angry and throw a “hissy fit”. We can all be tempted to get angry when things don’t go our way. But anger just leads to strife and fear, and those two things hinder the working of our faith. God is busy behind the scenes and there is a lot of activity and work that goes into making God’s plans for our life come about. Stay out of anger, in faith and trusting God.
3.Don’t panic. God knows the beginning from the end and everything in between. He has the answers, the way through, and the break we need. He promises that He knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us a hope and a future. So we just need to relax and rest in the knowledge that everything is going to be all right in the end. (Jeremiah 29:11)
No matter what happens it’s important that we don’t throw away our confidence in God’s goodness. There are times in life where we may not understand what is happening, but we can’t let what has or hasn’t happened dictate what we are going to believe. Psalm 27:13 promises that, “we WILL see the goodness of God in the land of the living”.
Our second daughter Shara is a few months off completing her Exercise Physiology degree. If you’d asked her 5 or 6 years ago if she could have imagined undertaking such a degree she would have laughed and said “not on your life”. Shara had planned to complete a singing, dancing and acting degree, and had her life all mapped out. But then things didn’t quite go as Shara had anticipated, and her plans started to unravel. Problems arose in the school she attended, and issues and strains on her body and voice soon closed the door to her plans. She was left at graduation from High school with very few choices for further study, except one. Go to university and enrol in a course for a semester and then transfer over into the only other field she’d even had the slightest interest in at school – Sports science.
Nearly five years later Shara’s life has mapped out very differently to her initial plan. She has discovered a whole part of herself she never envisaged. Because of her studies she has changed her lifestyle and outlook. She is healthier, stronger, incredibly fit, much smarter than she at first thought, with an understanding of her body, and what it can and can’t do. She recognises and knows how to prevent injury while dancing and exercising, and has embraced and is benefiting from a healthy, balanced lifestyle. In addition she also has part time work as a singing and dance teacher and regularly gets employment singing, dancing and being on stage.
Things didn’t work out as first planned, but God’s goodness has prevailed. And God has hardly begun the good work He has prepared for her yet.
When things go wrong or not according to our plans, we’ve just got to trust that God has it under control. Trust is a choice to believe that God is good, and that he’s working things out to our advantage. Trust means holding onto what His word says regardless.
We must be patient and give God time to work on our behalf. We are always in such a hurry, but I’ve discovered God isn’t.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, …He makes ALL things beautiful in His time”. God specialises in the business of restoration and restitution, promising to work all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)
“The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.” ( Joel 2:25)
Today if you have been disappointed, or things have not worked out as you planned. Take heart, the journey isn’t over yet, and God says with Him your life has good things up ahead. So don’t have a “hissy fit” and give up; keep trusting God,keep believing, and you will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
Prayer: Lord thank you that no matter what I face, you make all things work together for my good. Help me to trust in you, to keep believing and standing on your promises, until I see your plans and purposes for my life fulfilled. In Jesus Name Amen.