December 6, 2019

Temporary Setbacks

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 6, 2019

They went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop. Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill. Ezra 4:23-24

Don’t give up. You may be facing a temporary setback, but God’s purposes will not be thwarted. It may seem as if your life is on hold and everything has come to a stand still. You have worked so hard to get to this point, but it looks like the opportunity has vanished. Hold it with an open hand, as it may have disappeared.

If so, God has something better.

It is not time to get mad, but glad. What God initiates, He accomplishes. He hasn’t forgotten about you or your circumstances. He is on top of the situation. This is a temporary setback. This is a good time for you to catch your breath and reflect on the great things He has done so far. You have been running hard, so pause and prepare for the next stage of personal and professional growth.

You do not need to venture into opportunities for which your character is not ready. The last thing you want is to move forward without the depth of wisdom, patience, relationships, and operational skills needed to complete the project. The motive of your adversaries is to crush your project, but God is taking what was meant for evil and using it for good. 

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

The unfair criticism of others is a cheap way to distract you; so ignore their insults. Immature people act immaturely. Do not lower yourself to their level of behavior. Otherwise, you may never get out. You’ll spin your wheels and becoming defensive, you’ll get stuck. Focus on God, not your distracters. He is the one who has led you this far and He is the one who will lead you through to completion. If everything were easy, we might take God’s blessings for granted or we might forgo gratitude to God.

The Lord knows what is best. He knows how to align everyone’s hearts involved in the project. Sometimes, there is even an ironic twist. He may eventually use the endorsement, resources, and relationships of your biggest critics. The ones who rolled a boulder onto the road may be the very ones who remove the obstacles and provide you fuel for the journey. Isn’t it just like God to turn the tables?

Obstacles become opportunities; adversaries become advocates; critics become cheerleaders; enemies become emissaries. And setbacks become a tremendous springboard for God’s will. Take heart, and keep your head up. It is darkest before the dawn. Hang in there with Jesus, and He will hold you up. Your Savior will sustain you. God’s purposes will not be thwarted, so believe it, and watch Him work.

The Bible says, “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:11).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me persevere and trust you during this temporary setback.


Application

Who do I need to not give up on, even though he has let me down?


Related Reading

Isaiah 40:30-31; Hebrews 12:3; James 1:12; Revelation 2:3

Today’s reading is taken from Boyd’s most popular book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, a 365 day devotional.


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