Setbacks – none of us are immune. The missed deadline. The unexpected illness. The loss of a job. Some setbacks are nothing more than minor inconveniences, while others rank up there on the Richter scale.
I remember the year my husband’s company merged two business units. Steve wasn’t interested in the position he was offered, so he voluntarily left the company. What we didn’t know at the time, was that it would be nine months before he’d find a suitable job. This setback touched many areas of our lives and launched us on a daily walk of faith.
During this same period of time, our pastor experienced a heart attack following a prolonged battle with diabetes. His untimely death was a huge setback for our congregation. A setback that once again called us to walk by faith.
Steve and two other men from our congregation were chosen to head up a pulpit committee to search for a new pastor. A difficult task. A task that would require much time and prayer. Because of his availability, Steve was able to devote his time to this all-important task. And the Lord knew exactly what He was doing. Within days of choosing a pastor, the Lord provided Steve with a new job.
I’m reminded of a setback in the life of the apostle Paul. He was put in prison for preaching the gospel. Talk about a major setback! It seemed his ministry was put on hold – what could he possibly accomplish while he was in jail? God had a plan.
Although his circumstances were far from ideal, Paul continued to trust Christ. Paul looked beyond his circumstances and continued to share the gospel with anyone who would listen – jailers and guards included. Paul’s focus? “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” (Philippians 1:21; KJV). The Lord also used this time to inspire Paul to write many of the epistles - books of the Bible he wouldn’t have had time to write while on the road.
When setbacks come, I want to respond like Paul – focusing on Christ instead of my circumstances. What about you? Do setbacks derail you from living the Christian life? What step will you take today to stay on the path of faith?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that setbacks often serve as interludes for me to refocus on you and your plan. Help me to learn from the example of Paul and stay devoted to reaching others for you no matter what. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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