Several years ago a dear friend said to me, “You are the kind of person that has a hard time if things don’t turn out the way you think they should.” He was right. The Holy Spirit has brought those words to my mind many times through the years. There are moments in all of our lives and ministries when things are not coming together as we had hoped.
Just today I have heard of two different men whose lives have taken turns that they never would have imagined. Seen only through the eyes of our understanding this can produce tremendous frustration. But viewed through the eyes of faith it is possible to have victory! Disappointment comes when our purposes are not in line with God’s.
The disciples grew disillusioned when their Master did not set up His earthly kingdom as they thought He would. Little did they realize that He had much bigger (and better!) plans. John the Baptist even questioned if Jesus were the Messiah (Matthew 11:3). He had faithfully preached that the Christ who would come after him would bring judgment (Matthew 3:12). Yet Christ came preaching love. Sometimes we have the wrong idea of how or when God will accomplish His plans.
We all have questions.
The Lord Jesus sent word back to John of all that was being done and concluded with this statement, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Matthew 11:6). Are you offended because God is working His plan instead of yours? Has your inability to understand or explain God’s way blown you off course? The blessed life, the happy life, is the life of faith. This is the constant lesson Christ is trying to teach us.
Ask Hananaih, Mishael, and Azariah. They didn’t want to go into a fiery furnace. They certainly could not see how the story would end! Yet they declared, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us…But if not be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Let Esther testify. She had no assurance that she would be given favor in the sight of the king. She simply trusted that God’s choice for her would be best. Her last words were, “If I perish, I perish.”
This “if” is the if of faith, not the if of doubt. It is a word of total abandonment to God. If things don’t turn out the way I hope, if life does not come together according to my plan, if everything takes a strange twist – God is still in control and I can trust Him. Faith does not say, “Everything is going to be o.k.!” Instead it declares, “If everything does not turn out o.k. that is o.k. with me. The Lord knows best.”
So, what if it doesn’t turn out your way? Rest in the reality that as long as God is getting His way it is always for our good (Romans 8:28). You may not see it now, but God makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).