Setback or Setup?


“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, `This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21

Garth Brooks famously sang, “I thank God, for unanswered prayers…” But in truth, the answer to his prayers was there all along. It was, “Just wait...I have something better for you…”


It can be frustrating when we don’t know why God seems not to answer, or worse, when He gives us a resounding, “No,” when we are asking Him for something that seems like it should be part of His plan…but evidently is not meant to be.


I once applied for a job that seemed exactly right for me. At my final interview, I was led to believe I had the job. I was even introduced to people I “would be working with” and shown where I would be working. As I left the interview, I said a short prayer thanking God for providing this new and exciting opportunity; and almost as an after-thought, I prayed that His will would be done…assuming, of course, that it was certainly His will that I should get such a prestigious position. Imagine my surprise the next day when I got a call telling me I was not selected. I was beyond devastated and for many years I felt like that was the one that got away. I prayed again and again, asking God why that had happened, but soon I got another job. It wasn’t fun like I thought the other one would have been, and I have to admit I complained more than once that it just didn’t seem fair. My new job was so stressful and my boss was difficult to work with. I eventually found a better position, but could not stop feeling like I had been setback in my career fifteen-months.


Fast forward five years, and one day I found myself interviewing a young lady for a position I would be supervising. As I reviewed her resume, I was shocked to realize this was the very person who had beat me out of that “dream job” all those years ago! I was even more surprised to see that she had only stayed in that position for approximately six months, so I asked her about her experience. With a horrified look on her face, she told me the man who had seemed so nice in the interview had turned out to be a “screamer” who threw pencils and berated her on a daily basis until she finally walked out after only six months. I instantly realized that God had not only protected me from that abusive situation, but He had placed me in an interim position that was a perfect set-up for the job that had become my career. I could hardly wait to go to Him in prayer and apologize for not trusting Him and for second-guessing what was apparently His best plan to get me to my ultimate goal. I still thank Him for giving me the privilege of getting to see how He had protected me, even as I was questioning Him and His methods. What an amazing lesson, and what a great and awesome God we serve!


So, if you have had a recent setback, or are perhaps questioning whether He is listening at all, just remember, He has promised to never leave you, and to always guide and direct your steps. You can trust that His will for your life really is best. Even if it feels like a setback, remember that sometimes an apparent setback in God’s hands could be the best setup of your life. Just rest in Him and trust Him…He knows what He’s doing!

Prayer: Father God, thank You so much for your patient, watchful and protective care over us. Thank You for Your perfect plan for us, and for not letting us go too far astray. Let Your will be done and forgive us when our faith falters and we question Your plan and Your methods. We choose right now to trust You to lead us to that better thing You have planned for us. We love You, worship and adore You, and we offer our lives to You for Your ultimate glory and honor, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:


“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105


“…and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5


“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:23-24

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