This article by Sister Darlene Ignagni is the first in a four-part series on facing setbacks in your life.
“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)
One of the perks of being a lifelong educator is that you accumulate a great deal of knowledge about random, yet fascinating facts related to history, animals, and nature.
Children have a natural curiosity to know and understand the world around them. They ask a lot of questions.Therefore, I have spent untold hours reading about plants, animals, and historical events to be prepared for such times.
Do you want to know the gestational period of a giraffe? No problem. It’s approximately 15 months.
Have you ever pondered upon the size of the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt? It is large enough to replicate building 30 Empire State Buildings from its stones.
How old are the giant sequoia trees? The ones located in Yosemite are estimated to be around 3,000 years old.
What really fascinates me about these giant sentinels of the forest is their ability to not only endure through forest fires, but they actually can thrive.
Sequoia tree bark is quite thick and fairly resistant against fire. The heat causes the cones to open up and release seeds. The fallen seeds are better able to take root because the fire has consumed all of the brush at the base of the tree. This has left the soil free to receive the seeds. Therefore, in the case of giant sequoia trees, what appears to be a tragic forest fire is not only good but necessary for the sequoias’ long term growth and sustainability.
Seeing the Fire as an Opportunity
Now let’s compare those difficult setbacks and challenges in our personal lives to the sequoias.
There are seasons in our lives when the Lord allows a scorched earth event to clear away things that keep us from reaching our full potential. Could we be holding onto the burs and the brush that surround us yet hold us back?
How important it is to use a time of setback as a time to reset and regrow!
The gift of the Holy Spirit helps us endure such trials. Jesus’ teachings demonstrate how we need to respond during times of tumult: Submit our will to His and believe in the Lord’s grace and provision.
Finally, other people observe how we act and react during our trials. Our peace and trust in Him during such difficult times serves as a witness to unbelievers or those weak in their faith. Those are the new seeds for Christ that we are propagating.
Paraphrasing the scripture quoted above: God is doing a new work within you. Can you not see it?
He’s clearing the path for our continued growth. When we rest in Him, the momentary setback will become a reset in our spiritual journey.
How About You? Leave a comment about a time in your life when what appeared to be a setback actually gave you the opportunity for something new and better.
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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
Beautiful article and analogy, Sister Darlene. About 2 years ago I went through a difficult trial and the Lord spoke to me and gave me the verse, Be still and know that I am God. I held on to this promise and the outcome was something better. I felt like the scorched sequoia and with the Lord’s help made it through.
A Sales Manager Job at The Hilton Downtown Pittsburgh. Thought it was an answered prayer till I was wrongfully & unexpectedly fired-Ouch! Surrendered to God-what ever job HE wanted me to have which led to my own Biz as a Face Painter. This opened less hours at work & more time doing the Lords work. Truly ALL the Lord since I had never even painted before!
Best part time job making what some make full time. What a God we serve!
Reframing is a powerful tool. Seeing problems as opportunities and stumbling blocks as stepping stones is an art that leads to new opportunities. For example when the twin towers were attacked in 2001 afterwards many people were afraid to fly. I thought, what an opportunity to witness! So I began an airplane ministry. I asked God to pointout those who were fearful, He did and I prayed and anointed many over the next year while in the air. You could say my ministry took flight.
Reframing is a powerful tool. Seeing problems as opportunities and stumbling blocks as stepping stones is an art that leads to new opportunities. For example after the twin towers were attacked in 2001, many people were afraid to fly. I thought, what an opportunity to witness! So I began an airplane ministry. I asked God to point out those who were fearful, He did and I prayed and anointed many over the next year while in the air.
You could say my ministry took flight.