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 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.


When things don’t go the way they should—at least, the way God said they would; the easiest and readiest thing to do is point a finger or fist at God and blame Him for the mess. Non-Christians are especially vociferous and vile, blaming God, whenever tragedy strikes. Some of us mouth off everytime we don’t get our way. Poor God!  He gets blamed for a lot of things!

I used to blame God in my younger days as a Christian. But the more I read the Bible and got acquainted with God the more I came to a point where I realized that A RIGHTEOUS, SINLESS GOD COULD DO NO WRONG. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO BE WRONG AND TO DO WRONG!  

  • Psalm 145:17 puts it this way, The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works.
  • Daniel 9:14 says essentially the same thing: Our God is righteous in all the works that He has done.  
  • Deuteronomy 32:4 echoes the refrain: He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

There’ve been times when it sure looked like God was wrong. He messed up. He was unfaithful. But we will never, not ever, prove God and His Bible wrong! NO MATTER WHAT GOD DOES OR ALLOWS, HE’S ALWAYS RIGHT AND RIGHTEOUS. HE’S NEVER WRONG. HE NEVER MAKES A MISTAKE. HE NEVER MESSES UP—even when we think He did. Even when it looks like He did.

So if God isn’t to blame, who is? I hate to say it, and you’re not gonna like me for saying it, but sometimes—not all the time thankfully, but nevertheless sometimes—we’re the reason why things didn’t pan out the way they were supposed do. We messed up. THINGS GO WRONG WHEN WE’RE WRONG.

We don’t always know it. At least, not right away. Sometimes we refuse to admit guilt, blame, or responsibility. Sometimes we’re willfully blind, self-deceived, and engaged in a cover-up or denial. And at other times, we’re ignorantly blind: we just don’t see the true nature of things. In either case, when we don’t see, we need the Lord to open our eyes, our heart, and mind, to see where we went wrong.


Let me put this train of thought on hold and talk to you a little bit about myself. I love to garden. I get a tremendous satisfaction in planting a seed and nurturing it so that it gives me the veggies that I’m chomping at the bit to eat or can. It’s a lot of work, sweat, and time. But I get a lot of satisfaction doing the work.

It’s springtime here in the American Midwest and weeds are cropping up everywhere in my garden. I till the open spaces of the garden. But in the asparagus bed, as also in the strawberry and raspberry patch, I get on my hands and knees and pull each weed out. I’ve been that way about weeds ever since I was a young boy on Guam. I like pulling them out instead of cutting them down or hoeing. By pulling the roots out I get fewer and fewer weeds that way.

When we leave the roots in the ground there’s a good chance the weed will come back, sprout up, and grow again. That’s just the way it is.

This reminds me of the parable of the soils in Matthew 13. Some areas of the holy land were really fertile and lush. Others, rocky. And others, overrun with brambles, briars, and thistles. Like many of us today, farmers back then would cut these thorny brushes down, burn them in the field, then plant the seed. But as the seed was growing, guess what happened. The thorns’ roots that were left in the ground came back with a vengeance . They sprouted so many new thorny brushes that they choked out the good seed and the farmer never got a harvest.

Do you see what happened here? The soil was, from all outward appearances, cleared of thorny brushes. But underneath the soil, the thorny brushes’ roots were still there. They were still alive. And as long as these roots were alive, so was the problem.

Much like thorny brushes, in many of us there are underground roots that not many people see. These are the hidden loves, affections, lusts, and desires that we secretly long after and do unseen in the privacy of our house or room. If we don’t deal with these roots, if we don’t get them out of our heart, they’ll end up growing and killing us spiritually. They’ll render us spiritually barren or fruitless. Like the farmer, the spiritual harvest and bounty that we’re expecting just doesn’t pan out.  It doesn’t happen as promised. Why is that? Because the secret loves that we allow to remain in our heart will grow and keep us from bearing and enjoying the fruit. Left alive in our heart, our lusts will kill us someday. It’s only a matter of time.

So what’s the solution? You’ve got to deal with the root of the problem. You’ve got to get sin out of your heart and mind. As long as you leave it there and nurture it, they’ll keep the good seed of the Word from taking root in your heart, growing, and bringing forth the good fruit of change and righteousness in you.

When things don’t pan out the way God’s Seed said it would, when the fruit of the Seed is lacking; it’s not because God’s Seed isn’t any good. It’s not because it doesn’t work. The Seed does work. Just  not in thorny hearts or minds. Beloved, if you want good fruit, good results, God-promised results; you’ve got to get to the root of your problem. As long as the root’s alive, so is your problem. That’s one reason why things don’t pan out the way we’d like.