Have you ever missed an opportunity or accidentally messed up, and sighed, “Well, it must not have been the Lord’s will for me to accomplish such-and-such”? I know that I have. But is this a Biblical idea?
I believe it is not.
When the Israelites sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan (Numbers chapter 13), ten of those spies brought a bad report. “The people of the land are gigantic, and their cities are strong. Compared to them, we are grasshoppers. We don’t have a chance.”
Only two spies believed that the circumstances were completely irrelevant, knowing that God was capable of overcoming any difficulty. The key was to trust in God and go ahead anyway. Unfortunately, the fear of the Israelites condemned them to another forty years in the wilderness.
Often, when we face obstacles in our path, we react the same way as the Israelites. The plan falls through, our tongues get tied and we can’t get out the words, our schedule goes crazy just when we planned to bless someone—and we immediately sigh, “Well, it must not have been God’s will for us to do it.”
But what if that’s not the moment when God’s will has been withdrawn? What if we looked at the situation with the perspective of those two faithful spies and said, “I know this is a good thing, that will glorify God and bless others. Even though it won’t be perfect and even though it will now be more difficult to do, I will take this opportunity.”
Perhaps that is the very moment when God will give us the strength to rise up to conquer our own giants.
Are there times when pushing ahead just isn’t worth it? Sure. When you fall ill just before that visit with an elderly friend, it is not the time to persevere regardless. It is the time to take care of your body and keep sickness from your friend. There are many such situations when our time and energy must be prioritized.
However, there are also many times when we give up too easily. Perhaps the obstacle is not a sign of God’s disfavor. Perhaps it is the opportunity to demonstrate mature perseverance and trust. If the door is closed, it may be closed for good—or it may just need the lock to be picked. Prayer and diligence will prove which of the two it may be.
Are we willing to persevere?
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.