We have all had setbacks in life. You are going along your merry way, making progress on the road of life, and WHAM! A setback hits you. The enemy gets into somebody and uses them as a weapon against you to impede your progress. You have an argument with someone, or a relationship goes bad. You get sick. Your car breaks down. Whatever it is, you are reeling, and you have to regroup and move forward. It’s not pleasant, but it’s a part of life.
I once heard it said that setbacks are God’s way of pulling you back in His heavenly slingshot so He can catapult you forward, farther and faster than you ever imagined. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord.” Setbacks are a part of “all things,” and therefore, there must be some benefit to them. As unnerving as setbacks can be, when you think about it from a spiritual perspective, there are several benefits of setbacks that we can embrace:
- God is sought more earnestly. When the devil rears his ugly head in the form of a setback, the normal response is to run to God. Thus, a setback can be a reminder of how much you need Him. Running to your Heavenly Father strengthens the bond and deepens the relationship between you and Him. Furthermore, as you spend time with God to get direction, the Holy Spirit is able to do a work in you that may need to be done. Without the setback, perhaps you would not seek the Lord with as much fervor. God allows setbacks, knowing the impact they will have on you, and He uses them to bring about desired results in your life.
- Lessons are learned. Whenever you experience a setback, there is a lesson to be learned. When you look back on the situation, ask yourself, “What could I have done differently? Did I miss God? How can I use this episode to learn to hear His voice more clearly and accurately?” If you learn the lessons, the pain won’t be wasted. Make sure you reflect on the setback and determine if there is a lesson to be learned from it. Let it be a tool by which God prepares you for your future.
- God’s glory is increased. Whenever you have a setback, it could be that God is allowing the situation to worsen so that He can glorify Himself even more. For instance, He let Lazarus die so that He could get more glory by raising him from the dead (John 11:38-44). Maybe your relationship has gotten worse, and you’re in conflict with your loved one more than ever. Could it be that God is setting Himself up to be glorified in a greater way? A setback doesn’t mean the situation won’t be resolved. God will just get more glory when it is resolved.
- Patience and endurance are developed. Whenever you experience a setback, you may get discouraged and even want to give up. But when you have the courage and determination to get back up and try again, your spiritual muscles are being developed. When you get knocked down but get back up and keep moving forward, that builds endurance and patience. James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” A setback is most certainly classified as a trial or temptation. But the Bible says you can benefit from the negativity and still have joy if you recognize that God has designed the setback to do a work in you that will result in future good being wrought in your life.
So as you can see, setbacks can be beneficial when viewed properly. I heard a preacher once say, “A setback is just a setup for a comeback!” Therefore, when a setback hits you, God wants you to immediately regroup and begin to view the situation in a positive way. He has a plan for your life, and He unfolds that plan according to your days that were written in His heavenly book mentioned by King David in Psalm 136. Therefore, when a setback occurs, don’t despair. Make the decision to rejoice and milk it for all it’s worth. God has a purpose for what happens, and if you keep the proper perspective, He will cause it to work to your advantage. Remember this: A setback only becomes a “holdback” when you stop believing and allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking that he can use it to defeat you.
What have you learned as the result of setbacks in your life? Leave a comment below.
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