1 Corinthians 2:9
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God
has prepared for those who love Him.”
This past week I read an online graphic that said, “What we call a setback is what God calls a set up for a miracle.” Typically I would think a statement such as this to be a neatly packaged, quip reminder. I would read it and continue on without giving it too much thought; however; given the day, or perhaps week I had been having, I found myself sitting pondering the concept.
For the past several months I have been dealing with situation that has consumed much of my time, not to mention emotional energy. I have found myself praying about this situation countless times a day, just waiting for resolution to come. Just when it looked like I would at long last have my answer, not to mention the answer I had been hoping for, a setback threw everything off track.
Perhaps you have been there. Or like me, you are there. You have encountered a setback and despite your best efforts and ceaseless prayers, your miracle has yet to come. You want to have faith, you want to believe God has things under control and your very best in mind, but everything around you says otherwise.
John 11 tells the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. While recently reading this story to my boys I was reminded that despite how great our setback is, or how dismal our circumstances look, perhaps God still has a miracle in store.
In John 11 we read about how Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha was sick. Given his dire condition, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus; clearly their hope and prayer was that Jesus would come immediately and miraculously heal Lazarus.
What has always struck me about this story is that when it seemed that Mary and Martha needed Jesus most, rather than going to their aid at once and saving the day as they so desperately hoped, upon hearing the word of Lazarus’ critical state, Jesus stayed where he was two more days…and Lazarus died. Talk about a setback!
Can you relate? I can. You have prayed about something in faith, with persistence, and are certain that it aligns with God’s Word and would bring Him glory (James 1:6, Luke 11:5-13, 1 Corinthians 10:31), and yet, nothing. The more you pray the less seems to happen.
Our story continues – When Jesus finally arrived on the scene, Martha and Mary immediately expressed their heartbreak to the Lord, professing they were confident that if he had only been there, Lazarus would not have died. Going to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid, Jesus commanded him to come out. With that, wrapped in strips of burial linen, Lazarus, the man who had been dead four days, came forth. Talk about a miracle!
I’m not sure about you, but when facing a setback I need a reminder like this. If Jesus can raise a dead man, I am sure He can handle my setback. Although God may not handle my situation the way I would like, or in the time of my choosing, when I place my faith in God, the Creator of the universe, the One whose very presence is displayed all around me, I am not placing my faith blindly. Rather, I am trusting in the One who knows all and has His glory and my best interest in mind. I have seen Him work miracles in my life before and I am confident He can do it again.
Author Kim Meeder writes, “Miracles fill the space that is given to them. They can be as small as a twinkle or larger than the midnight sky. However, unlike dreams miracles come to life. They are powered by the smile of an almighty God and profoundly change all who are touched by them. Many have said ‘Seeing is believing,’ when in reality just the opposite is true: ‘Believing is seeing.’”
In the same way Jesus chose to raise Lazarus from the dead, I am certain that often times God does not answers our prayers as we initially ask because He has something so much better in store. Something that will leave us in awe of His power. Something that will increase our faith. And ultimately something that will bring Him glory.
With all of this in mind, regardless of my current setback, I will continue to hope, continue to pray, and continue to trust. I will focus on what I know to be true.
1 Corinthians 2:9, ”No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Matthew 19:26, “…with God all things are possible.”
Isaiah 55:8-9, ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
I will be persistent in asking for God to work in my life and to answer my prayer according to His perfect will and timing, having confidence that He will do so. And maybe, just maybe a miracle is still coming.
What setback are you facing today? Are you willing to trust God to work it out for His glory and your best? Give your setback to God and see what He might do; maybe, just maybe a miracle is still coming.