When God Doesn’t Follow Our Plan

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32

Mary and Martha had sent for Jesus. That was their prayer, their cry for help, “Come save our brother.” God purposefully doesn’t do as they are wanting. They want Him to come and touch their brother Lazarus and heal him from his sickness.

In the meantime, Lazarus dies. This was God’s plan, His plan for a greater salvation story. Mary and Martha had planned out what God should do. Jesus should come, now, and heal.

When Lazarus died, they could have thought, “God said no.” They could have said, “It wasn’t God’s will to heal.” They could have said, “It’s was Lazarus’ time to go.” They could have said any of those things we say when things don’t go as we want, when our prayers seem to go unanswered.

While they didn’t react with any faith when Jesus shows up, at least they didn’t kick Him out and shoo Him away. They don’t reject Him. They wouldn’t have gotten their miracle at all. They do, however, feel the need to point out His shortcoming in their eyes. Jesus cries at how they don’t even know Him or their good Father.

Having God with them should have brought rejoicing in their hearts. Having God with them should have produced hope and anticipation. Having God with them should have made them realize that not all was lost. Having God with them should have had them believing anything was possible.

But it didn’t. It was like they didn’t know Him at all.

How do you respond to God being with you? Have you ever felt rejected or discouraged, like God ignored your prayers? Have you ever wanted to accuse God, like the disciples did, “Don’t you care?” If you ever did as a believer, then you were like those standing there that day weeping over Lazarus when they should have been rejoicing about the miracle that was about to happen.

Are you living like God is with you? If Jesus walked in the room right now and stood with you, wouldn’t you rejoice that God had heard your prayers? Wouldn’t you know that all hope wasn’t lost, that God was going to act on your behalf and make things all better? Well, He’s there with you now. He’s closer than just in the room with you. He’s in you.

Rejoice! God has heard your prayers! He restores all things! He’s working for your good! Never grieve like one without hope. Hope is alive in you!


In the last post I mentioned Daniel. Let’s think about him a little more. He had been captured by a foreign army. He had been taken from his home with the other exiles. He served His God faithfully, but He was taken away.

What I want you to see in Daniel’s life is that he is unfazed. He is the same no matter what. What he does is the same, no matter what. Jesus is unchanging, and His life in us in unchanging. We can move through life steady on our feet. 🙂

Daniel is noticed for God’s blessing on his life. He is chosen for special training. He gets an education. He gets to serve the king directly. He puts his service to his God first and refuses to eat the king’s food. He will eat as the Lord directs.

He fears God not man. That’s a big key. Man is fickle and trying to please him or reacting to him will throw you off course; you’d have to go this way or that trying to bend to whatever their desire or demand of the day is. Fearing God and not man, keeps our eyes set like flint towards Jesus, our prize.

Daniel is given position and power. He stays steady.

The laws of the land demand his death. He remains steady. He does what he always does. His feet don’t stray from the path. He does what he always has done because that’s what he was supposed to be doing. He prays. He’s arrested. He’s delivered.

No matter what legislation comes our way. No matter what your boss, your leaders, your communities, your colleagues demand, you stay the same. Your mission, your purpose, your truth will not have changed.

Whatever you were supposed to have been doing yesterday, you should have been doing it. You should probably be doing it today too. Whatever you are supposed to be doing today, you should be doing it. If you should be doing it, you probably should have been doing it yesterday. It doesn’t change. We serve God and Him alone and He is unchanging.

Don’t let anything pull you off your assignment, off your focus on Jesus. Love Him alone.

I Will Set My Eyes on Them for Good

“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Jeremiah 24:5-7 (ESV)

They were exiles. They had lost their homeland. They were going to be gone for seventy years. This was not a little bump in the road. They lost their homes, belongings. They lost their land and crops and income. It’s not what we would call good.

But it had to happen. It had been foretold. Their leaders had led them astray and they hadn’t been following God’s laws, especially the laws of the Sabbath. They hadn’t rested. They hadn’t rested the land. They hadn’t set the slaves free. There were cycles that were meant to be followed and they ignored them. They lived by their own thoughts and wisdom. In choosing to ignore the freedom God offered them, they chose slavery for themselves.

Judah’s leaders were not given this promise of good. They are given a promise of “horror.” There is a distinction, even though all the people have to go through the exile.

There are things that have to happen. There are things declared that must come to pass. Tribulations must happen. The Tribulation must happen. The end must come. But there will be a separation.

There will be those for whom it is a horror. There will be others who are going through it, but God is building them up; His eyes will be on them for good. They will not be forgotten or abandoned. God will turn their hearts to seek Him and to know their God. They will grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord. It will purify them and bring them closer to God.

The Babylonian exile, which this is referring to, is also the time of Daniel and the 3 boys in the fire. Their hearts were already turned to the Lord. They were already serving Him and desiring to know and honor Him with their lives. We know their stories. Their blessing from God was evident and caused them to be noticed for good and for evil. It brought them position and power, but it also brought persecution their way. However, it wasn’t a moment of horror; it was a moment of great glory. God was glorified and His servants were honored.

While we may not get honor in this world, one who walks through the fire by faith is one of whom “the world is not worthy.” You will take your place in the Hall of Faith. How? Just love the Lord above all else.