God’s Always Working

Sharon Jaynes Forgiveness, God's love, Identity in Christ, When You Don't Like Your Story 50 Comments

Have you ever wondered where God was when your life was falling apart? Oh friend, let me assure you, He is always working behind the scenes. Just because we can’t see that He’s working, doesn’t mean that He isn’t.

I remember when  I met my husband at a college Bible study while we were in college. There he sat with the sleeves of his red flannel shirt rolled up over muscled biceps. He had a Bible in his lap, Jesus in his heart, and me wrapped around his little finger. Three-and-a-half months later, we were engaged. Six months after that, I became his wife.

The following year, we began to pray where we would live and work after graduation. We prayed. We fasted. We toured various towns and looked at several opportunities. After several months, we felt certain God was calling us to a little town called Pineville, just outside of Charlotte, NC.

After graduation, we moved to Charlotte, and set up house in a tiny apartment near the office where Steve would be working. The rent was half-price for the first three months, which was a huge bonus for a young couple with nothing but school debt on their balance sheet. Smiles all around.

However, when Steve went to the office to finalize his work schedule and management particulars, a trapdoor opened beneath his feet.

“Steve, I’ve been thinking about it,” the potential partner began, “and I don’t think this is such a good idea after all. I’ve changed my mind.” He extended his hand to my twenty-five-year-old stunned husband and said, “Good luck to you, son.”

When Steve came home and told me the news, we were both shell-shocked. “What do you mean, he changed his mind?” I cried. “He can’t do that! We’ve just moved here. He made a commitment!”

A host of raw emotions collided with real questions for God. How could we have been so wrong? Didn’t we hear you correctly? We prayed. We fasted. We wanted nothing more than to do what you wanted us to do where you wanted us to do it. Now, here we sit in a new city, with a big student loan, no job, no future. What are we supposed to do? I did not like this story!

I felt like God had left us high and dry. But he hadn’t. He was simply moving the puzzle pieces into place for his perfect plan.

I think young Joseph must have felt the same way. God had given him two dreams about how his whole family would one day bow down to him. He was going to be a man of power. However, over the next several years, the was sold into slavery by his brothers, worked as a servant in the official, Potiphar’s, household, falsely accused of attempted rape, and thrown into prison.

Don’t you know he was thinking…this is not how the story is supposed to go! God, where are you? Get me out of here!

But at just the right time, the Pharaoh had a dream that only Joseph could interpret—seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. The Pharaoh was so impressed, he made Joseph second in command of the entire kingdom, and he saved the entire nation from starvation.

Yes, Joseph’s life had taken some seemingly wrong turns, but they weren’t wrong turns at all. They were necessary turns to get him to just the right place at just the right time.

Our limited vision doesn’t allow us to see how God is working behind the questionable scenes in our lives, but we must believe that he is. In fact, it may be precisely in the moments we understand him the least that he is working the most.

Jesus told his disciples, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will” (John 13:7 NLT). Sometimes, it is only after the fact that we understand that what we call setbacks were really God’s setups all along.

Three months after the devastating news that Steve’s job fell through, a position opened up that had not been available when we were was first looking. If we had written out our best-case scenario, this situation would have exceeded it by far. We were living out Ephesians 3:20, “[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

And remember that rent that was half-price for the first three months? It was three months to the day when Steve started in his new position. Who knew? God did. We often experienced God’s provision and protection through the twists and turns of uncertainty. Sometimes God doesn’t meet our expectations because he wants to exceed them.

I don’t know what you’re going through right now. 2020 has certainly been a difficult year for all of us. But rest assured, God is working for your greater good. When we give up our need to know all the details, we can have a holy confidence that is independent of our circumstances.

God, I’ll be honest, I’m glad 2020 is coming to a close. And even though I don’t know what’s coming in 2021, I trust that You have a perfect plan. In a world of uncertainties, I and thankful that Your steadfast love never changes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What is one thing you are praying for as 2020 comes to a close?

Everyone likes a good story, but not everyone likes their own story. Let 2021 be the year that you turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories. My new book, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories will be available January 26. Pre-order your copy by January 25 and receive bonus gifts with your purchase.

 

 

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Comments 50

  1. I lost my husband last year to cancer. I prayed along with others really believing for a miracle. It didn’t come. I still wonder what plan God has for my life. I’m so lost without him., so lonely. Life just isn’t the same.

    1. Bev-
      Praying specifically for you today that God would surround you with:
      HIS Peace that passes all understanding
      HIS Presence where we He hides us
      HIS Power that is made perfect in our weakness
      HIS Protection that is our hiding place
      His Provision that makes a way in the desert and streams through the wasteland.

    2. Hi Bev, I pray to God that He shows Himself all sufficient in your life and to comfort you with His spirit’s companionship .May He bring new people in your life . Try to join one year Bible study course or any online course of your interest if you have time. I know how it feels after losing loved one, I recently lost my dad, though I’m living with family , sometimes I do feel lonely. So I know how ugly loneliness is. PSALM 68:6 God makes a home for the lonely.
      Stay Blessed Bev.

    3. Bev. I lost my husband three years ago to esophageal cancer and I miss him just as much today as I did then. I am still wondering and praying what is Gods plan for me, what am I to do? I’m not sure it’s ever going to change, life isn’t the same, it’s just different. It is lonely and I try to remember God is here with me, I talk to my dogs. I’ve had to have a hip replacement and depend on my children to help me. It’s been especially hard this year with being isolated. It’s what we hear sometimes spoken; “the new normal”. We adjust, you will too. What helps me is to remember that this time on earth is temporary and we will be together with our Loving Father forever. Each day brings us closer together, closer to Jesus. Enjoy your memories and photos. May you feel Gods presence each day.

    4. I’m sorry, Bev💗
      I pray God wraps you in His loving embrace and reveals His perfect will for you in His perfect timing! He is with you, He’s for you, and He LOVES you!!!

    5. Bev,
      I, too, lost my husband to cancer in February. We prayed, as well as our church family, that God would provide a miracle.
      I miss him terribly but I know that he is with Jesus and no longer suffering. My tears still come in my loneliness but I also know that God will heal my broken heart……… in his time. There are so many beautiful verses in Scripture that give me comfort and I hope you will find comfort in this one, as well.

      Psalm 91:4 says “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

    6. DEAR BEV, I LOST MY HUSBAND TOO AND I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. I AM PRAYING FOR GOD TO GIVE YOU THE PEACE THAT ONLY HE CAN GIVE YOU. HE WON’T FAIL US.

    7. Bev,
      I lost my husband last year to cancer also. I understand the loneliness and the lack of direction for life now that our plans that we looked forward to can never happen. You are right. Life is not the same. I have been asking God what He has for me now. Just this morning, God spoke to me through His Word saying that He knows the plans He has for me. He has set them into motion. My life is not over even though my marriage is. Yes, my life now looks very different from what I thought it would look like. Yours will too. I encourage you to pray and ask God to show you what He has for you now. He loves you and He is now your defender. Seek Him and you will find Him. Let Him speak to your heart and minister to you in your loneliness. Pray for some new friends! Some other widows have encouraged me to do that. It is hard in this season of Covid, but I believe God will provide friends too somehow. Blessings to you, Bev. I’m praying that you know His comfort today.

    8. I lost my husband 6 weeks ago to esophagus cancer was diagnosed end of July I can see were your coming from. I miss him and feel like apart of me is gone this is my first Christmas and new year 47 spent with out him.

    9. Oh, Bev, my heart breaks for you. I also lost my husband to cancer and that was after he had been prayed over, had hands laid on him, been anointed with oil. You are going through a very difficult season. And it must be harder with the pandemic. I will pray that you become aware of God’s presence in your life, God’s love for you and God’s plans for your future. Hang in there, Bev.

    10. My dear Bev, I lost my husband Peter on 1st December 2019. The circumstances of 2020 meant that I couldn’t even access Bereavement support (by telephone is not the same). Even family (who live a few miles away) couldn’t be around as much as they wanted to due to lockdown. However, God showed up and has enabled me to get through and given me peace. I know He is Sovereign and completely in charge. I’ll never be the same, but that was God’s intention. He has plans for me and for you. Despite my grief, I know that I can trust God, and so can you. Make the choice and commit to Him completely. Admit your feelings, He can take it. He will give you a hope and a future, just as He promised

    11. Bev, I understand the loneliness that you feel. I lost my husband one week after having surgery for colon cancer. Even though he had Dementia I just missed his presence. I pray that God’s peace and love surrounds you. I will be praying for you 🙏🏼🙏🏼

    12. Bev, I lost my husband also, from pancreatic cancer. I prayed for a miracle and for healing. He got his miracle and healing, because he is in Heaven with Jesus- but it wasn’t the healing and miracle I hoped for. Still, I find great peace in knowing that his pain and suffering are gone forever. Don’t get me wrong, I miss
      him every day, even after 4 years since his passing , but God has been with me every
      step of this grief journey. I am grateful for my many blessings ( including family, friends, and also new friends from a Bible Study I am attending), and I am able to thank God for the blessing of my husband too! Hang in there. I will pray for you. It’s a challenging journey for sure , but you are NEVER alone. God is with you always!

  2. I’ve just learned my brother has cancer. He is the last living member from my childhood nuclear family. This news is so very difficult, but your post helps refocus my vision. God is in control.
    Thank you.
    Pam

  3. Thank you father for it all. The teaching, protecting, and perfecting my faith and trust in you. Every word of the lord is true and pure. Thank you God!!! I’m welcoming 2021 because I know you have your hands over my life!!! Amen

  4. Thank you for the reminder to not judge the circumstances of our lives if we are in Christ. He has a plan that we often dont understand or agree with in our ignorance..

  5. I really enjoyed reading this today. It is just what my heart needed to hear. I am trusting God to direct me in the upcoming year. Looking forward to reading your new book.

    1. Kristie, that is my prayer too. My homosexual son has had no contact with me since he “married” four years ago. I went to the wedding but I told him a week before that I still believe in God’s definition of marriage. However, I attended the wedding because I love him and wanted to show him the same grace God has given me. I have reached out to him 3 times since the wedding but no response until the last message I sent him. His response was cold and indifferent. He made it clear that he has no desire to have a relationship with me. I’m crushed. I miss him so much it feels like he has died. Please pray that we can reconcile; I am heartbroken.

      1. Dear April- My husband and I are going through something very similar with our son. I will be praying along with you! He was raised in a loving home where the Word of God is cherished but has now rejected it all for this lifestyle. God has shown us that his first need is to come back to the Lord and experience Real Life in Him. That is what we are praying for.

      2. I’m praying for you right now. I also have a gay son. He has bought into the lies completely and justifies it by choosing which part of the Bible to keep. Has stopped going to church etc. I feel your pain and am saddened that although you did attend the wedding to support and love your son, he’s pushing you away. God can change his heart towards you and Himself. I truly believe that. Hang in there. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. God knows your heart and your pain and will lift you up. Be patient.

  6. Good morning! I’m waking up at five having all these worries my marriage my kids specially one of my girls ,I see I got a email from you I’m starting to read it I like what I’m reading ,and also thanking it Doesn’t happened to me ,it only to others …2020 I would like to see that my girl have more peace and joy she’s struggling with anxiety and depression and it’s so hard as a mom to see 😢I hope God will do amazing things in 2021 for her🙏 in my marriage me and my husband are separated right now and it’s hard I want my marriage back in 2021 yes I want God to help us 🙏2020 has been so hard, and also there is many things that we can be thankful for I love you sorry💕I have never done this right to somebody like this ,but it’s better than lay in my bed and be fearful and worry ,I just found out..Thank you for sharing your story💕 I love stories we’re god it’s so clearly to see in the story.Mika!

    1. Mika,
      I’m praying for your family, your marriage and your daughter. The book, “The Peaceful Wife” has helped our marriage tremendously. Also, I didn’t know how much our marriage was affecting our daughter, who had depression.

    2. Mika I pray God’s peace that passes understanding will rest on you and your family. There is nothing.. No thing that is too hard for our God. I pray that your daughter will have a sound mind free of any anxiety and depression..I also declare your marriage will be restored in the mighty name of Jesus!! Continue to trust God because I know he is so faithful and has you all in the palm of his hands. Rest assured he will come through for you.

  7. The tail end of 2020 has proven to be what I never expected. Thank you for this reminder that when all seems to be falling apart, because that for sure is what it looks and feels like, that God IS working. I needed this encouragement and reminder that God always is moving.
    In the midst of what looks like my family being leveled, I will continue to look to the Lord for His strength.

  8. Sharon, I am so glad that you allow God to speak through you. They almost always speak right into my life where I am, or should I say, where God has me. I am experiencing some health issues that partially are caused by anxiety. I am finally seeing how God works in our weaknesses. He knows the plan and I need to trust Him in it. Thank you for being obedient and sharing with the rest of us.

  9. So so excited to this one!! Thank you for continuing to persue God’s purpose in your life. It’s a blessing to so many!

  10. I have come to the age in my denomination when I must retire. I don’t feel ready to retire. I have no idea what I will do in retirement, but I am trusting God still has need of me.

  11. Dear Shannon I am hoping God can help put our family back together. There is so much conflict between the sisters. I come from a big family my one sister just lost her husband I sent flowers along with my one sister. I didnt call her because my sisters late husband’s daughter called me to let me know and told me that my sister hung up on her younger sister when she called. I also was told that my sister told Brenda her older sister not to tell any of her sibling about there father’s death. Please pray for both our families we are very messed up and need God to guide us all through this. When my one sister found out we sent flowers instead of calling she texts and started blaming us for not calling my sister but neither her nor my sister who’s husband died had the curtousy of letting us know of his death. I love all my siblings but some are toxic to me and I find every time I talk to them I am hurt and angry and they bring out the worst in me my sister Jean in particular. She seems to take pride in hurting me. Please pray for our families I dont want to be hurt or angry anymore. God has blessed me with so much I am very close to 3 of my sisters I come from a family of 11 siblings by the way my one sister and parents have passed . Any advice would be helpful. Thanks and God Bless

    Sincerely Debbie

  12. This was a blessing to me. I’m newly married and it’s been a challenge but I’m continuing to trust God for his perfect will. Blessings

  13. I would like to ask for prayer for a possible ministry opportunity. It seems like it would be the perfect position for me and my husband-using all of the gifts and experiences He has given us, and seems to be the right timing – but I have misread God’s calling before and done just what I wanted, so I am very hesitant this time! Prayers for clarity and confirmation would be greatly appreciated!

  14. I have wondered were God is in my life right now. I live in a state with no family and I am separated from my husband because of his cheating. I have prayed for God to send godly people in my life.

    1. Get connected in a good bible believing church many have home fellowship groups small but close for everyone to care and share and of course God’s word . I get it God is faithful your loved by God .I will pray for you

  15. My husband is having a very tough time right now with a surgical recovery that is not progressing as quickly as he expected. He is full of fear and anxiety, worried that he will be unable to return to full strength so he can go back to work, worried that his injury will delay his planned retirement in May. After each setback, he rails at God in very violent verbal outbursts. He is convinced that God wants him to have everything figured out before giving him the help he is praying for, that God wants him to be perfect before responding and that God is somehow punishing him because he hasn’t gotten it right. My counsel often falls on deaf ears, and I grow weary. Please pray for God to reveal Himself to my husband in a dramatic way!

  16. My husband is experiencing some memory issues and we are both afraid as to what this means as far as keeping on working. We are up there in years and don’t have the means on which to retire. I wonder where this will leave us and what God is trying to tell us. I am afraid!

  17. I had a very Blessed 2020 because My husband having a heart attack and a stroke for over 3 weeks and when he went to the emergency room his blood pressure was 225/125, but God healed him, and he was back to work in 5 weeks after doctors found the right meds for him. My mother had a massive heart attack a month after my husband got better, and she was resuscitated 7 times and was getting better, but she took sick again 6 months later and had another heart attack, but she is doing much better now. I grateful that God showed my mother and husband favor and spared their lives, and despite all the other bad things going on in our lives, we’re happy because they’re still here in the land of the living. I’m Blessed because God is my God, and he’s amazing!!

  18. Please agree with me in prayer for my daughter who is currently/today going through her second round of chemo. She was diagnosed with esophageal cancer was doing great then she started to experience pain in her stomach. They say it spread to her liver. We are believing that by Christ’s stripes she is healed. We believe God has a great and wonderful plan for my daughter, Mary Jo. For her body to be healed and made whole. She will live and not die and declare God’ s works!

  19. God answers Prayers! After several years of really poor medical care from the Wisconsin Veterans Association, the only medical insurance I have, I got a big enough raise at work to afford their Medical Insurance. Praying my PTSD, severe arthritis, depression and anxiety will finally be taken seriously and I can get the help I need. Thank you God!

  20. I was raised to believe that God is always working in my life even when I can’t see it. I still believe that though at times I let the devil speak too loudly and drown out the Lords words. I write this now in faith that God is continuing his work in my life. Nothing major going on in my life right now just long tiring days as a single mom in this crazy world. My heart longs for the direction of the Lord. I keep this devotion up on my phone and for some reason this morning it popped up. After reading the comments my heart hurts for all not in a pity way, but a deep hurt. We all experience the ugliness of this world in similar but different ways. Praying for you all! ❤️

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