What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up Like You Thought He Would?

planb-postcard-frontOn Sunday we started our new series called Plan B. And we began by saying something that is honest, but difficult: Plan B’s suck.

They just do. They are hard, they are difficult, and they not only can test faith – they can break our faith. Because true “plan b’s” of our life are where we cry out to God – “why” and “where are you?”. The hardest situations to really move through are when you’re following God’s will and your life falls apart. It’s easy to understand why things fall apart, when we make bad choices. But the really tough “plan b’s” are when we follow God, and things still fall apart. It’s at those points that we do cry out “why God?” and “where are you God?”

So we began by recognizing that Plan B’s are hard. That they are difficult. That they not only test faith, but they can also break faith.

We then began to look at the life of David, who had many plan b’s in his life. He gets anointed to be King of Isreal, and then nothing happens for a long-time. And when things finally start to get moving it all falls apart so quickly. He becomes a hero killing goliath, gets noticed by the King, becomes a favorite of the people, starts to marry the King’s daughter – and it all looks like God’s promise that he will be king will come true.

But it all falls apart. And it falls apart badly, as Saul (the present king) tries to kill him.

David moves from being sure of how God is moving his life forward, to doubting and unsure what is going on. The promise that seemed just around the corner, now seems so far away. So David does what any of us would do – he runs. He runs for his life. I also think he runs too because he is not sure what to do or where to go.

And this is the trouble in Plan B’s; we have the temptation to run but so often we run in the wrong direction. Rather than running towards God, we run away from him. Rather than running towards community and church, we run away from those connections. But this isn’t what David does. David in 1 Samuel 19 runs to Samuel. He runs to the prophet the one who anointed him. David runs but doesn’t give up on God even in the dark.

And this was our main point on Sunday. That in the Plan B’s of life we can’t give up on God. We can’t give up on God, when things fall apart. And just because we aren’t in control, doesn’t mean that God has lost control. If we ever want to find our way towards God’s promises it means not giving up on him, even as everything falls apart. I’m not saying that’s easy. I’m not saying it’s simple. I’m simply saying I think that’s the only way we get through the hellish places we sometimes find ourselves. We need God.

So we ended with this challenge: that if you’re in a plan b place, don’t run from God but lean into others. Share with others where you are at, be like David and run to trusted people, run to God and don’t give in to fear and darkness. Next week we’ll look more at that. But I think the first thing we need to do when Plan B’s jump out unexpected is to resist the temptation to run and to lean into God, others, community, and care. And that’s what we learned on Sunday.

 Sermon Notes

Big Idea: When Plan B’s happen, we can’t give up on God.

Take Aways…

  • What do we do when our plan A’s fail?
  • “Everyone has shattered dreams” Pete Wilson
  • Sometimes the plan b’s in our lives bring about God’s best later on.
  • God’s will in the moment doesn’t always come to pass
  • God’s promises don’t have expiration dates.
  • When Plan B’s happen, we can’t give up on God.
  • “Your dream may not be happening, and things aren’t turning the way you expected, but that doesn’t mean your life is spinning out of control. It just means you aren’t in control” Pete Wilson
  • Don’t run from God

Adult / Group Discussion Questions

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

When have you been in a “plan b” in your life? What made it hard? What made it easier to get through? How did God get you through it? Can you relate to the temptation to run when things get tough? How so? Are you in a plan b place right now? If so, who can help you and support you during it? If not, who can you support that is in a plan b place.

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families

Talk to your kids how sometimes hard things happen. Talk to them about the importance of turning towards God. Share with them from your own life, how that’s happened and what you did. Use your life to teach them, and to get closer to them.

Challenge for this Week: Don’t run from God but lean into others / Support others who are in a Plan B place.

Being Open With and Open To God

On Sunday we talked about prayer. We talked about how we are called to be first open with God about all that’s within us. We saw how both David and Jesus boldly go to God holding nothing back. They share deeply. They share doubts. They share their hurts, their emotions, and they share absolutely honestly.

The truth is God can handle our feelings, our hurts, questions and wonderings. So go to God openly and be open with him.

But the amazing thing is that Jesus and David don’t just leave it there. They aren’t just open with God, but are also open to God. They are open to God changing them, to using them, and open that God’s will might be different than their personal desires. Both David and Jesus have deep trust in the God who created light out of dark, that he can do that in their lives. God can create light out of the difficulty, pain, and hurt in their lives – but they are open to God’s will and desire. Jesus says, “But not my will by yours be done”.

Jesus is open with God, with his feelings and thoughts, but is also open to God’s will. This is what I believe is at the heart of prayer. Being open with God, but also open to God’s will and desire.

So today why not take a moment and share with God, boldly if need be, what it is you need, want, and desire. Share with him where you are at ~ trusting in him. But then be open to him. Be open to him changing you, shaping you, and that his will might be different. Because the goal of prayer is not to get our way, but to connect with God. So spend time sharing with God, but spend just as much time listening for his direction.

Pray being open with God, and open to God…