Your Set-Backs Are God's Set-ups

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The young man knew he had received a direct revelation from God. God promised to use him in a great way. His ministry would be very successful.

So he went out with a spring in his step. Sure, he could have behaved more humbly. Nevertheless, he felt bold confidence in God and wasn’t afraid to show it.

Yet soon betrayal from people he trusted most wounded him profoundly. He lost everything he had.

Still, he persevered and trusted God with great faith. He never lost hope. Over time God opened new doors and he gradually found his way back to thriving.

Then, again it all turned south. This time false accusations reverberated through his ministry like a clap of thunder rolling down a valley. His ministry lost, he was quickly removed and replaced. He couldn’t sink any lower.

He trusted God. He believed God. He gave his all. How could God allow all of this to happen? Not once, but twice! Where was the grand vision God gave him?

In a dungeon far from home, surrounded by rats, Joseph must surely have pondered these questions. He had done nothing to deserve all of this. Nothing but trust God.

Of course, we know the rest of the story so it’s easy for us to see that these set-backs were really God sized set-ups.

As someone who writes about mental resilience for pastors, I see in Joseph’s story a great lesson about the aspect of emotional intelligence that I call personal mastery. Joseph, without knowing the rest of the story, maintained his faith and self-control through all his crushing circumstances.

As a consequence, God continued to work through Joseph to bring about great blessings and the promises he had made to the young man in his childhood dreams.

Here’s the thing: our failures so often become God’s opportunities to do what only He can do. God can use failure to ready us for success.

What if our struggles, difficulties and failures:

  • Increase our leadership capacity

  • Increase our dependence upon God

  • Increase our humility                                                                       

  • Increase patience and perseverance

  • Increase resilience

Our role is to reset our mindset in the midst of frustrations, difficulties, failures. We must train ourselves to view our set-backs as God’s set-ups. Scripture says something very similar.

 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. (James 1:2-4 The Passion Translation).

We’ve all seen a person enter a ministry position they weren’t ready to handle. Sometimes the results are disastrous for that person. Other times, people encounter troubles through absolutely no fault of their own.

Either way, God hasn’t forgotten the original call and vision he gave you. Like Joseph, you’re being readied for something greater. So get a grip on your perspective and ready yourself to comeback stronger (and wiser) than ever before!


This blog is part of the Discouragement-Proof Your Mind series. Other titles in this series include The Biggest Threat to Your Ministry, The Worst “Good Advice” You Will Ever Hear, You’re Not Discouraged, You’re Just… and One Really Great Way to Discourage Yourself.

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Dr. Jeannie3 Comments