How many of us have experienced a time when we’re moving full steam ahead toward a blessing or the fulfillment of a goal, only to find that something zings in from left field to seemingly snatch that blessing away from us? In church-speak, many call this “Death of a Vision”. We believe that God has given us a dream or vision, and we begin to see it moving into reality when suddenly, an important piece of the puzzle falls through, and we’re left with disappointment, fear, and doubt about whether the goal will ever be reached.
I’ve seen this happen so many times in my life . . . and I know of countless others who have experienced the same thing. In fact, it’s almost become a pattern. And because of the frequency with which this phenomenon happens, I’ve come to realize that often – maybe most times – the setbacks that come are an attempt of Satan to steal our joy. In my opinion, he’s overplayed his hand by always trying the same strategy. John 10:10 says this about the enemy of our souls: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. So it’s clear that he doesn’t want us to receive God’s blessings; he wants to steal our joy and destroy our hopes and our vision.
Sometimes God may allow an “Oh NO!” circumstance to arise in our march toward the goal, in order to provide a better finish for us at a later time. Here’s an example: I was co-pastor of a church plant and after several years of meeting in schools, we found a perfect piece of property to buy for a church building. It was a 55-acre parcel on a major road. We knew we couldn’t afford the whole thing so we found another young church which didn’t have a building to partner with us to buy the property. We were in the process of surveying the potential boundaries for each church, and everyone was so excited and proclaiming the goodness of the Lord in allowing us to find this land when suddenly, we got word that the seller had accepted another offer! We were out. Our dreams cut short. How could God allow this devastating blow? Every time we drove by the property, we felt a lump in our throat and choked back the tears for what might have been.
A little more than a year passed and we saw no development on the property. Then, to our surprise, the seller called us. The deal he had favored over ours fell through and he was suddenly much more willing to negotiate on price! The other church decided not to proceed with the partnership, but God had other plans. We found out about a construction company that needed land on which to place a large quantity of fill dirt and it just so happened that “our” land had a large valley running through it that made a perfect place for the dirt. In return for being able to deposit the fill dirt there, the construction company gave us the money with which to purchase the property! So . . . two years after the gut-wrenching “Oh NO!” and the apparent “death of the vision”, we had more land than we could have imagined owning, and God brought in someone else to pay for it! The song “Blessings” in which composer Laura Story says that sometimes the “trials of this life are God’s blessings in disguise” couldn’t have been truer in this case.
Another example of an “Oh NO!” rearing its ugly head and threatening to prevent the “WOO HOO!” happened recently to my daughter and son-in-law as they were preparing to purchase a house. Everything was going along just great until the mortgage company found one little regulation that would keep them from getting the type of financing they wanted. So with less than 3 weeks to go before settlement, it appeared that the whole thing might fall through or, at the very least, they would have to come up with more money to put down on the house. As my daughter described it: “Mom, when the phone rang and the secretary on the other end said I needed to talk to the loan officer, my heart sank and I just knew it wasn’t good news!” But after several days of praying and looking at various options, it did finally work out, and they should be having their “WOO HOO!” moment as first-time home buyers next week.
So when you experience an “Oh NO!” circumstance that threatens to keep you from the blessing you thought you were headed for, don’t panic. Realize that God’s got the whole situation under control. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Pray for wisdom and discernment, but don’t lose hope. God said he would “rebuke the devourer” for our sake as we are faithful to Him (Malachi 3:11). Recognize what’s happening and TRUST HIM to bring about fulfillment of your goals and dreams. In His timing, you will enjoy your “Woo Hoo!” moment!
Joyfully serving Him,
Director of Music and Ministries