When it doesn’t work out

I know. It isn’t always so simple. Praying with requests and thanksgiving may not lead to instant peace. And just because you pray about something doesn’t mean God will automatically bend an outcome in your favor. So then what?

Months back, I was sensing a nudge to take action on something, but I was hesitant. My theory was that maybe if I just ignored the problem, it would fix itself. Instead, all over the place in scripture and in sermons, I kept hearing things that confirmed my nudge. I got everything ready to take this step of faith and actually began to grow excited about the way that God might use it. I needed one last thing and spent much time praying over it. But in that final piece, everything fell apart. My step of faith was shut down entirely.

I felt stupid, upset. I was so confused.

“I don’t get it, God. I felt so sure about direction from you… and now I’m stuck. Was it a test?…”

I sat in my basement and flipped open my Bible, heading for the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis, where God is introduced as El Roi, the God who sees. I needed to know that God saw me in that moment, that I wasn’t entirely foolish.

Instead, my attention caught Genesis 22, titled “Abraham tested”. I had just journaled about being tested, so I started reading the story of Abraham and Isaac, a favorite of mine and one I had been through many times before. Abraham had been commanded by God to sacrifice his son. When they got near the area for sacrifice, Abraham “said to his servants, ‘stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5). We. “We will worship and we will come back”. Abraham knew he was coming back with Isaac. Even though the command was to sacrifice his son, the original promise was that God would bless Abraham through Isaac. And Abraham hadn’t lost hope. He knew that God would provide, even when it looked like everything was falling apart. I journaled that night, “Abraham trusted that you would be faithful, because that is your character. And you were. Of course you were faithful. Of course you can be trusted.” His character never changes. He is Jehovah-jireh, He is the God who provides.

I think back over my life and can recount so many ways God has provided, ways that he has been faithful. Some responses seemed immediate, some came after waiting much longer than I would have liked. But He has always come through. And yet I still needed the reminder that night.

I continue to wait on God to take care of the original thing that I was never able to take action on. But I think back to that night often, that night he met me in my basement, answering my prayer to be seen, and even more, reminding me of who he is. While I wait, I see him move in different ways, in unexpected ways. I’m reminded that he is faithful. He can be trusted. He will provide.

Read: Genesis 22:1-19

Stepping in: Who are some people you trust and why do you trust them? Why do you think Abraham trusted God? How can this passage help you trust God?

Stepping in: Who are some people you trust and why do you trust them? Why do you think Abraham trusted God? How can this passage help you trust God?

Journeying further: In your life, what does it look like to obey God without delay? What gets in the way of that immediate response, and how can this passage help remind us of truth? How can we remember pieces of our own stories to remind us of God’s character?

3 Replies to “When it doesn’t work out”

  1. For as many times as I’ve read the story of Abraham and Isaac, I never realized Abraham said “we” will come back. Love learning new things! Truly enjoying your posts! Thanks for sharing!!


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