Wait! Responding wisely to setbacks

Earlier this week, Chris wrote about his reaction to a major disappointment in his personal life. He talked about his frustration with unfriendly “neighbors” and his efforts to replace that frustration with prayer and love.

Today’s devotional at Lifetime Guarantee Ministries, written by the late Anabel Gillham, deals with a very similar situation. Think about the last time you encountered a serious setback or disappointment in your life. How did you react? Anabel, reflecting on a huge personal disappointment that caught her by surprise, lays out the different ways we can respond in such a situation:

Well, we have options. (1) Go in the bathroom, close the door and cry hard. Wait. (2) Go to your room and collapse on the bed feeling like you’ve just been hit by a truck. Wait. (3) Retaliate and cause bigger problems. Wait. (4) Stuff it and feed your ulcer. Wait. (5) Tell yourself the truths that we’ve learned together and make yourself listen! He is with me. He loves me. He can handle this (I sure can’t!) He is with me. He loves me. He can handle this–one hand tied behind His back. Wait. (6) Get busy. Whistle while you work or sing while you suffer. (I whistle. My singing leaves a lot to be desired.) Wait. (7) Do something nice for someone. All the while fixing your thoughts on those things that are true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely. Dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Not just one time–over and over and over, etc. Wait. (8) Ask Him to tell you what to do. Ask Him to give you His thoughts on how to handle this unexpected crisis–and listen. Wait. (9) Thank Him for taking care of this crucial episode that burst into your life quite unexpectedly–having one goal–to incapacitate you or destroy you! Wait. (10) Go back to #5 and do it all over again.

I am presuming that you caught the word, “wait?” Spewing out those impulsive, angry, defensive, hurtful words on the tip of your tongue–no! Regurgitating rash, condemning statements to anyone around you–no! God tells us, “Be angry–but sin not. Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still” which means wait (Psalm 4:4).

Obviously, there are many different ways to respond to life crises, and different situations call for different responses. But whatever the response, it’s important that we not sin by acting rashly and emotionally. The next time you’re insulted, disappointed, or provoked, don’t indulge your instinctive reaction. Wait.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. —Psalm 37:7

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. —Proverbs 14:29

2 Responses to “Wait! Responding wisely to setbacks”

  • Jana B says:

    Thank you. I am facing huge setbacks in my life and my faith seems to have been shaken. I printed this out because I will read it over and over as I have committed to surrendering to God’s will for my life and not fighting it. Your website has been a huge encouragement to me as I am at work and when I need to hear from God I usually look at your verse for the day and it meets me right where I am at. Thank you for letting God use you!

  • When these setbacks seem to come at the hands of people, it helps me to remember that my struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil. That revelation typically comes as I am able to wait and reflect upon the situation.

  • arthurine says:

    I am currently in a difficult situation and a friend gave me this link. I am waiting and feel blessed to know that God is still working in my favor. i have only to trust His ways and rely upon Him. I am waiting for my answer but in the mean time I have found others you also needs the same encouragement that I have received. Thank you for your words and reminding me that it is ok to be upset as long as I don’t sin.
    Ps 118:5 – 9
    I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.