What To Do When You Don't Get the Desired Outcome

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Today’s devotion is for all of those out there who know what it’s like to be frustrated, disappointed, and confused. I am writing to each of the following:

 • The pastor who is preaching the truth but still not seeing the church growth or participation he expected
 • The overweight individual who has been faithful with diet and exercise for months but sees no visible results from the effort and discipline
 • The employee who obeys all the rules and goes above and beyond the call of duty yet is passed up for the promotion for the third time in a row
 • The parent who has shed tears and prayed prayers over their wayward child but has yet to see any fruit from their intercession
 • The teenager who had enough courage to take a stand for Christ only to find himself ridiculed and cast out by those whom he called friends
 • The wife who loved her husband and did her best to respect and honor him though it didn’t stop him from walking away and leaving her alone to raise their children
 • To anyone who has ever had a dream and worked hard to see that dream come to fruition only to watch it go up in smoke

Yes, today I want to address those who are hurt and brokenhearted. Those whose daily cry is, “Lord, I don’t understand. I did everything right. I was faithful to You, to my family, to my church, to my job. I did my best and trusted You, but it hasn’t paid off. What happened to the concept of sowing and reaping? I’ve sown a lot, but I have reaped nothing!” It seems so cruel, doesn’t it? So unfair. After all, there are plenty of people out there living it up, thinking only of themselves, yet they seem to get anything and everything they want. But I assure you, it just seems that way. In reality, most of those people are missing the only thing that really matters—Jesus.

So, how should we respond when we’ve done the work, prayed the prayers, put forth the effort, but seen no results? The last chapter of the book of Habakkuk gives us a good idea.

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
— Habakkuk 3:17-19

If we don’t get the results we want, the outcomes we desire, the conclusions we hoped for, we should rejoice. Say what? That goes against our human logic, doesn’t it? Our default setting is to complain when things don’t go our way, not rejoice. But just because that’s our standard response doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Nope, according to the Bible (in several passages, in fact), the appropriate reaction to disappointment is praise. Why? Because no matter what’s going on in our lives, God is good and worthy of our worship. Despite our outward circumstances, we can rejoice because we have something that can never be taken away. When others forsake us, we still have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. And though it seems like our efforts aren’t paying off down here, God is keeping a record of every work we do for Him, and there will be a day of reckoning.

So, don’t lose heart, dear one. Keep doing the right thing. Don’t give up because you don’t see the results for which you were hoping. Your efforts are not in vain, so rejoice in that. Joy in the God who is Your constant Friend, your strength, your refuge, and so much more. And one day, you’ll see it was worth it all!

Beware the Naysayers

Don't let others' negative comments and opinions keep you from receiving God's best. Choose to accept His Word and His truth over those who have nothing better to do than to discourage you from following after God.
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When It Seems There Is No Hope

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Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
— Isaiah 57:10

During my Bible reading last week, this verse jumped out at me, and today I would like to make an application with it. Let's begin with the first phrase: Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way. Does the way before you seem great today? Does the path appear long and scary? Troublesome roads can leave us weary, even if we haven't traveled them yet. Just the thought of the way ahead is enough to cause fear and dread. Whether we're facing a stressful day, week or even year, the path before us can evoke anxiety within us, making us weary before even taking the first step.

But look at the next phrase in this verse in Isaiah:  yet saidst thou not, There is no hope.  No matter how tired, weary or fearful we may become, we should never allow ourselves to feel there is no hope. There is always hope. Jesus made sure of that when He came to die and rise again. Not only did He purchase our salvation, but He also bought our right to believe and have faith in the things we cannot see, including the things that lie at the end of the road which we are facing. And as long as Jesus lives, there will be hope.

So how can we tap into that hope? In the midst of our dread and anxiety, how can we remember that God will get us through this? The answer can be found in the very next phrase of the verse above:  thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.   To dispel the fear and worry, we must remember who life is all about and in whose hand our lives are held.  Psalm 27:1 says, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?   The Lord is the strength of my life; therefore, I need not fear anyone or anything. The Bible assures God will never leave me nor forsake me, and because of that, I should not lose hope. If the Lord is with me (and He is), there is nothing I cannot do.

I do not know what road or situation you are facing today, but I urge you to remember these words. Don't lose hope, dear friend. God will get you through this, no matter how impossible it seems. He is walking with you, and His loving arms of protection surround you. Though the way before you may seem daunting, go forward in faith, knowing that the Lord is the strength of your life, and because of that, you can continue to walk in hope.

In Christ, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation!