WHEN THINGS DON’T PAN OUT: WE LISTEN AND LEARN

DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT AND DISILLUSIONMENT

We all like to have things our way. It’s a natural and normal thing that comes with being human. It’s not necessarily the best, safest, or healthiest thing for us. God has a better way. His way. But sometimes people just can’t tell us differently or convince us otherwise: our way is the best way! It’s this stubborn, inextinguishable belief that’s a huge part of the reason why we like having things go our way.

As you know full well by now,  things don’t always go the way we planned. It’s a real downer and a source of frustration, disappointment, anger, and tears. But that’s life. And we find a way to go on.

But when things don’t pan out the way God said they would, then that becomes a really, really difficult thing for me. I’m a believer. I take God at His Word. When He makes me a promise and I take Him up on that promise I fully expect Him to do what He said He would do. And when He doesn’t I go through a serious time of reflection and questioning. Is God’s Word true or not? Of course it is, silly! Then why didn’t it work?

I like to have answers. Sometimes the answers are easy. Sometimes, hard to fathom or digest. Sometimes there aren’t any answers. At least, not right now. Maybe down the road. Maybe never. But whether I understand the reasons or not, I’m still a believer. God expects me to continue believing Him. Continue serving Him. Continue praising Him. And since I’m a preacher, God expects me to continue preaching the Word of truth and life.

I’m constantly amazed by how practical and relevant the Bible is to us in our day. As an example, here’s what I learned from the Scriptures when things didn’t pan out the way I thought they would.

WE LISTEN AND LEARN 

God gave me a promise of healing and I take that very literally and seriously. After all, He wouldn’t have made me the promise if He didn’t mean it. If He meant something else.

I recently went through a bout with high blood pressure. It came right on the heels of my sister-in-law dying, which was a rather intense situation for all of us who knew her and loved her. Well, we thought that my  high blood pressure was connected to Doreen’s death. So it stood to reason that my blood pressure would return to normal after we laid Doreen’s body to rest and got on with life.

Several weeks later, my blood pressure remained high. I’m talking upwards of 178/98 with a pulse running between 95 and 115.  I’m talking rapid, loud, pounding heartbeats. The kind of beats that keep you up at night because you can’t hear or feel anything other than your heart racing and pounding like a car that’s careening out of control and seconds away from crashing.

Naturally, I prayed and ask God to heal me. I spoke words of life, health, healing, and peace upon my heart. I rested in bed. I honestly tried not to be worried or anxious. But after six weeks in this weakened condition, with no improvement whatsoever, I have to admit I got afraid. My pastor came and took me to a clinic. And from there I was ordered to the emergency room. My blood pressure was 225/125. My pulse was 116. I was on the verge of a massive heart attack or stroke.

Reluctantly, I went to the ER—not understanding why God hadn’t heard or answered my prayer. Yeah, I was afraid. But I wouldn’t have been afraid if He’d answered my prayer in the first place and brought my blood pressure back to normal several weeks ago. Why did He let the trial get out of hand? I was counting on Him to heal me. But He didn’t. Now it was up to the doctors to do that.

Like I said earlier, I’m a Christian. I’m a believer. And I wasn’t about to turn my back on God just because He didn’t heal me. God has His reasons. I didn’t know what His reasons were at the time. But He graciously preserved me for the six weeks that my heart was pounding and overworked. I was thankful for that much.

Not too long ago, the Lord showed me why He didn’t answer my prayer. It was because He wanted me to make some lifestyle changes. Dietary changes. Changes that would make me healthy and strong so that I can live longer and finish the work He gave me to do. If God had answered my prayer the first day of my trial, or shortly thereafter, I wouldn’t have made any life-prolonging, lifestyle changes. Why would I? I would have used His healing mercies to continue eating salt like it was going out of style. I wouldn’t be exercising on a daily or regular basis. I wouldn’t be concerned about the toxins that are poisoning our foods and our bodies.  Unanswered prayer was a wake-up call from God that effected an immediate, and on-going, change in my diet and lifestyle habits. It was a blessing in disguise. Something good came out of a bad, disillusioned experience. I learned to make the changes that God wanted me to make.

This reminds me of the familiar comfort of Romans 8:28, 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. God didn’t promise that everything that happens to us is good. What He promised was He would take everything that happens to us and make them work out for our good. No matter what happens to us, everything—including the bad things, the things that nearly got us killed, the things that caused us a lot of grief, misery, and pain—will turn out for our good. Of course, we’ve got to continue loving God in spite of all the suffering. But the comfort is something good is gonna come out of our trials and tears.

In my case, God didn’t heal me of my high blood pressure problems when I was going through them. That’s because He was doing something good, something better, for me. By not healing me at the time He was actually saving and prolonging my life! Wow! How neat is that! I would never have imagined that had God not shown me.

I could have chosen to be bitter and angry towards God. I could have criticized and rejected the promises of healing. Like many before me, I could have brazenly preached that trusting God doesn’t work. But I chose to be thankful and chose to continue believing God even when I didn’t understand. As a consequence, God made everything turn out good–actually, gobs better, for me.

Just so you know, my blood pressure’s back to normal now. I’m making the lifestyle and dietary changes that God wanted me to make. And God kept His healing promise after all. Just goes to show that God’s Word is true and He’s true to His Word. When it looks like things aren’t panning out the way God said they would, it’s because He’s got something good, something better, in mind for us. We just need to listen and learn.

4 Comments

  1. Jan bucher said,

    May 10, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    again, awesome word.Oh how true and a reminder as well.. I too have had MANY situations where the answer looked diferent than what I thought God had promised.
    The hardest being our son’s death..I had prayed and prayed about his lefe. God promised VICTORY,,2 days later he was killed. But Peace and Grace as I have never experienced came..He has since showed me alot of things, yet to know why in full, but I trust Him. He is my Father and he knows best.. Other things as well try to overcome with his promises and when they are different than what i thought..I trust and waiting to see is the hardest,but His ways are best and always make us grow..
    Thank you for sharing..I again will wait on his plan…..

  2. Debbie Francis said,

    May 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Thank you, loved it and it is so true god is our healer a nd friend

  3. queenlorene said,

    May 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    God certainly uses illness to wake one up. And while He doesn’t always heal, He will give strength and peace to those who ask for it.

  4. Pamela Cramer-Ozse said,

    May 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    Good Sermon of Gods faithfullness…


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