As a nine year old, Leo Tolstoy believed with all his heart that God had told him to fly. He was so confident that one day he jumped headfirst out of a third-story window. In one crashing moment, Tolstoy was introduced to his first big disappointment with God. Many years later, Tolstoy laughed at his youthful test of faith.
Tolstoy survived the fall and so did his belief in God, but not everyone walks away from a leap of faith.
Sometimes the injury is severe. If you’ve been hurt trying to hear and obey God’s voice, you’re not alone. Learning to hear and recognize God’s voice isn’t easy, and doesn’t come without painful mistakes.
Maybe you heard from God that a person was “the one.” You knew in your spirit. You had absolute confidence. Everyone around you knew, too; but the proposal was rejected, retracted, or never came to pass.
Maybe you were given a vision of what God was going to do in your community, church, or ministry. You can still quote the words he spoke. But when you look around now, everything is a mess. The vision is gone. The dream is dead.
Maybe you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was going to heal someone, save someone, or repair a relationship. You prayed. You cried out to God. You poured out your tears, your very soul, and he answered you. You held the Scriptures, the words, the promise, in the palm of your hand. However, health continues to deteriorate. The person refuses to acknowledge God. There’s no reconciliation.
And it hurts… deeply. You may wrestle trusting God at all. Brimming with disappointment, you may be wondering if you’ll ever believe him again.
While those emotions are all fair, if we focus on our disappointments, we will miss out on the divine appointments God has for us. If we’re focused on what’s gone awry, then we can’t move forward into what God wants to do next.
As much as it hurts, God wants to heal and restore you.
I could offer a dozen guesses as to why things didn’t work out as you expected: maybe it wasn’t really God speaking; maybe it wasn’t his will. But they are all just guesses, and seem pretty shallow in the depth of your pain. Besides, you’ve already played the situation through your mind at least a dozen times and know many of the possibilities yourself.
Sooner or later, you will have to choose to erase the memory of the disappointment and let God replace it with his love.
Despite what may have happened, God is still true. His promises remain valid. His heart is still for you.
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*This week’s memory verse: John 10:14-15
- Watch. Session .006: Bring Them To Me on the DVD
- Write. Respond to the second session of homework in the workbook.
- Read. Chapter awakened in the book.
- Interact. Share what ideas or phrases that catch your attention. What God is challenging or showing you through the material.How we can pray for you. And of course, you’re welcome to send in quirky questions, too, since I’ll be interacting with them throughout our time together. Leave your thoughts at MargaretFeinberg.com or on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #SacredEcho.
- Gather. Set a time to meet with your small group face-to-face, schedule a Skype date with your long-distance friends, and join the online community on Wednesday, July 16th at MargaretFeinberg.com.
To purchase the Summer Bible Study Special (which includes a copy of the book, workbook, and set of the DVDs), click here.