Sometimes God throws the perfect layup—a perfect opportunity. We see what we assume is His will from a mile away. We’re grateful and we’re ready to go. Then suddenly, it falls short.
And we wonder, What is God doing? What went wrong?
A friend of mine’s husband has been without a job for almost three months now. The long anticipated return call finally came. The job he had most wanted came through. Could he start next week?
The following Monday, he arrived early, checked in with his new boss and prepared to go to work. Looking sheepish, the boss pulled him aside. Something came up, he said. Something in the paperwork, something that my friend’s husband thought had long been resolved. They were sorry, but he couldn’t work there.
The news crushed them. Everything had seemed so perfect! What had gone wrong?
It isn’t always a job. Perhaps you met the “perfect” person, but then the whole relationship fell apart. Maybe you’re expecting a baby and you’re so excited, but there’s a miscarriage. Maybe you’ve planned the perfect wedding and then find yourself standing in front of the justice of the peace.
Whatever it is, sometimes God throws the perfect layup, and then it falls short.
God doesn’t always offer personal explanations, but Scripture is always the light to our path. In this case, a story from David’s life gives insight into the confusion.
David was a young shepherd, probably about 12-years-old when Samuel, the prophet, came to his father, Jesse. Samuel announced that one of Jesse’s sons would be the new king of Israel. Obediently, seven of Jesse’s sons marched in front of the prophet, but each time God said, “He is not the one.”
Perplexed, Samuel asked if Jesse had any more sons. Jesse admitted there was one more, a scrawny shepherd named David.
When David arrived, God told Samuel, “This is him! This is the one I want you to anoint as the King of Israel!” Quickly, Samuel did as he was told.
Logically, we might imagine that Samuel pulled a crown out of his bag, put it on David’s head and marched him to the castle. David should have begun ruling right away! But that didn’t happen. In 1 Samuel 16:13, Samuel turned around and went home. In the very next chapter, we find David back in the fields with the sheep.
I wonder if David asked God, “Why? Why do I, the King of Israel, have to go back to the sheep pen? And how long do I have to wait, God?”
Many years down the line, David did rule over Israel; he was the best king Israel ever had. God called David, “A man after my own heart.”
The Bible never tells us exactly why God made David wait for so long. We do know that in those waiting years, David was filled with the Holy Spirit. He wrote many of the Psalms during that time, singing and sharing his praise for God. He made many good, godly friends in that time too.
We will not always agree with or even understand God’s reason for toppling perfect plans, altering the natural course of things or seeming to change His mind. At times, it may seem like He has misled us. David must have felt that way after being anointed king and then sent back to the fields. Later he was called to the palace merely to serve King Saul by playing the harp.
Even after David took the throne, there was never any explanation as to why God anointed him and then sent him back to being a shepherd. If David had been king right away, perhaps Israel would have avoided many wars and a lot of bloodshed. David never would have been hunted by Saul. But the end of the story is that David became a man after God’s own heart and God abundantly blessed him.
Even when things don’t make sense, the end of the story is always that God is working things for our good. He is always faithful and all that He does in our lives is out of His lovingkindness. As we learn to wait through the confusion, we will become men and women after His own heart.