What to do When it Gets Worse

Have you ever been waiting for God to move, waiting for an answer to prayer, only to have things get worse instead of better? Where you thought, “Lord, You said Your plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, but I sure don’t see that here. This hurt me. What were you thinking? Where were You?”

Yeah, me too. So, what do you do when it gets worse?

I love the story in Exodus where God sends Moses in to Egypt to set His people free. The burning bush. Take off your shoes. Holy Ground. A staff turns into a snake and back again. Miracles!

In Exodus 4:31, we see Moses going to the leaders of Israel and showing them the signs and telling them God has sent him to rescue them.

…and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

I love their response. They believed. They worshipped. Finally. Freedom.

Then in chapter 5, Moses goes before Pharaoh with confidence. “God says, ‘Let My people go!’”

But Pharaoh doesn’t just open the door and step aside so they can leave. Instead of setting them free, he makes things harder. He didn’t “let My people go.”

It. Got. Worse.

(You can read the whole story here.)

And what did God’s people do? Did they hold on to the promise? Did they cling to joy and the relief of promised freedom?

No. They got spittin’ mad. They went immediately to Moses and Aaron and gave them a piece of their minds.

Then Moses turned to God and did the same. “Ummm…hey God! Why are You doing this? This doesn’t look like freedom to me. You made it worse instead of better. I think You’re confused!”

But God doesn’t answer his “Why, God, why?” Nope. God is UNMOVED! He stays steady on course. “This doesn’t change a thing. Now you’ll see My power. Go tell the Israelites I will still deliver them.”

Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

(Exodus 6:9)

This time the promise didn’t bring the same reaction. There was no relief. No joy. No bowing down to worship. No believing.

In fact, they refused to believe because it got worse.

They got the same promise both times. The same Word from the same God. But there were two totally different reactions:

  • First they believed.
  • Second they doubted.

What was the difference?

Experience.

Experience changed their demeanor from faith to doubt. From hope to discouragement.

They received the promise. They worshipped. They believed. Their experience was different than their expectation. They got discouraged. They let go of hope.

We do the same thing, don’t we?

We see a promise. By His stripes we are healed. Hope rises and brings with it joy and faith and worship. “God You are good. I’m so thankful for Your Word. I can’t wait to see You move!”

And then there’s this little thing called time. And experience. And it doesn’t happen when we think it should. Or how we expect it to. And things get worse instead of better.

“Why?”

“Where are You?”

“Lord, I thought You’d change it by now!”

When our expectation is not what we experience, the temptation is to back off. Discouragement comes. Doubt floods. We let go of hope. We let go of the promise. We let go of trust.

God isn’t afraid when it gets worse. He isn’t caught off guard in heaven, scrambling around to find a way to fix it.

He stays steady. He already has a plan, and if God is for us, it doesn’t matter what our experience is. And then He uses what was meant to break us as a platform to display His power on a bigger stage.

If our foundation for what we believe is our experience, trust will fly out the window every time. Instead of faith, we’ll give in to doubt. We’ll get discouraged. We’ll let go.

But if our bedrock is His Word, experience won’t matter. Resolve will settle in to cement us to trust. “I don’t care what I see. I don’t care what I experience. I believe God. He said it. He’ll do it. I’ll wait. That settles it.”

God is faithful. He did deliver His people from Egypt. The process was different than what they anticipated, but they got the expected result. Freedom.

And He did heal my daughter. And my husband. He restored relationships in my life. He’s provided my needs in miraculous ways again and again and again.

It didn’t happen overnight….and not always on my timetable….but freedom always came.

Whatever He’s promised you will come to pass. Even if what you’re experiencing looks opposite of what He promised. Even if it takes longer than expected. Even if it looks broken beyond repair.

He. Is. Always. Faithful. Especially when it gets worse.

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