There is something comforting about knowing that great heroes of faith dealt with some pretty epic plot twists of their own. We, the reader, know these stories from beginning to the end. Sometimes, we forget or neglect that the individuals living the story out in real time are not privy to the end of the story. Their decisions were not based on the outcome. They don’t know about the twists in their life that are yet to be unfolded.
We, on the other hand, base their choices on knowing the end result. The people living it only had the information in their own here and now for them to rely on. When the whale swallowed Jonah, I’ll bet he never saw himself sitting in a dark, smelly, unheard of place one day. I’ll bet Job never forgot the last kiss he gave his daughter before she died. I’ll bet Mary and Martha felt enormous grief as all their hope slipped away just like Lazarus’ fingers had just done from their grasp. He was gone. They mourned that Jesus had not shown up in time.
But what does God do if He knows we are going to choose something that is not the way He imagined? Pretty sure He already knows and based on Him seeing the main plot line in my life, works it for His good. He knew I would fail my test. He knows that I will soon pass it when I choose to retake it. (Hopefully it will only take one more time.) Problem. Disappointment. Failure. Not Enough. Did not pass.
These moments come now and will continue to come in the future, sometimes unexpectedly. How we react and recover are up to us.
First, we must ask for discernment to discover what we are experiencing this for: Is it something I brought on myself (consequence of choices), is it unfair and unreasonable? What is the determined root cause of this problem?
Sometimes we require these moments because we need to listen, comprehend and apply what God is trying to tell us. He has to reach us at a level that will change us forever if we choose to let ourselves be used to change the world.
Sometimes, it may be because we are on the wrong path and we need to turn around and make an exit.
Sometimes, it is to build patience, obedience, perseverance and authenticity in our own each individual faith journey. This should be out goal:
2 Timothy 4:7 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.
We must be diligent in prayer and praise. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Hard to make that verse personal to you when you only operate in the realm of your comfort zone. Why would you need Jesus if you got this, man?
We must discern if the difficulties we encounter are worth the calling or the investment. Because they could be a sign that we are about to make big mistakes, or they could be spiritual opposition attacks on your calling. Here is a sample checklist to run through for your consideration)
1. What kind of problem am I experiencing? Can I identify the source? (Consequences of choices I made, deserved, undeserved, the motivation behind this problem is bigger than me) Or, is it a spiritual attack on someone’s calling?
2. Have I done something or opened a door to become vulnerable to anything unholy or unacceptable?
3. What lessons are God implementing in my life through the plot twists that appear?
4. Do I truly believe He can do this? Really? Do you?
Pray. Ask for whatever you need in His Father’s Name. (He already knows you need it, anyways.) Lord, is this mountain climbable for me? Are You going to move it, or should I go around it? What is your plan and what is my role?
Then, we wait until we get our answers. We may not ever get them. (Positivity, right!) Seek wisdom out. Be wise. Don’t let a good mistake get away without learning something valuable.
Define your opposition and recognize the strategy.