There are many Bible promises that I am sure you have clutched onto for different situations in life: maybe it is Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:13, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4:13, John 14:1-4, Proverbs 18:10 or Hebrews 13:5 (definitely check these promises out in your spare time) – there is a Bible promise for every situation in life you’ll go through.
Over the past year or so I have had a lot of disappointments and setbacks, and what made them more difficult to deal with was my inability (mentally, in terms of thinking right) to deal with them. However, during this past year, I came across a Bible promise which I have always been aware of but never really appreciated, it is found in Ephesians 3:20:
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”
This verse really shifted my way of dealing with disappointments and setbacks; it helped me move forward with peace and assurance despite the circumstances. Let me share with you the potency of this verse through the experiences of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24-25), Moses (Numbers 20; Deuteronomy 3 and 32) and Elijah (1 Kings 17-19, 2 Kings 2).
Not One but Two - Isaac and Rebekah
After finding favour from God and obtaining a virtuous woman, Isaac married the beautiful Rebekah aged 40. But unfortunately she was not able to have children, and in those days it was a shameful thing for women, so “Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” (Genesis 25:21).
Amen – God granted his plea and Rebekah conceived, but it was not straight away. Isaac took Rebekah to wife aged 40 – but she conceived... 20 years later when Isaac was 60 years old (Genesis 25:26). Isaac was pleading and pleading, he was asking, seeking, knocking and only after 20 years was the door of her womb opened.
After praying for a child God gave them not one but two, Jacob and Esau. Isaac and Rebekah can testify – God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
You may have been praying for something for some days now, maybe even for some weeks, months or years. Keep praying, it may seem like God doesn’t hear you but to every sincere prayer an answer will come, don’t give up praying. God is doing something just “wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
Even After Death - Moses
After being called to save God’s people, Moses valiantly led the hard-hearted, murmuring and unappreciative children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt to the borders of the promised land. Undoubtedly, Moses was one of, if not the greatest leader that this world has ever witnessed; he was patient, understanding, valiant, other-centred and self-sacrificing. But all the murmuring, all the burden of dealing with the rebellious and unfaithful people took its toll on the mighty man of God. Once again as they persistently did, the children of Israel where moaning because of their bellies and they nagged at Moses and Aaron:
“If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” - Numbers 20:3-5
So Moses went to God and was told what to do:
“Take the rod;” God said, “you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” - Number 20:8
But Moses was not in the best of moods and instead of speaking to the rock he struck it which was not what God commanded him to do, in simple terms – Moses disobeyed God’s express command. As a result of that, God said to Moses and Aaron “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:8) – what a sad outcome to the dynamic duo that did so much for God – but it shows the cost of disobedience.
As you can imagine, Moses was distraught. All his leading, all his patience and lovingkindness was so that he could lead God’s people into the promised land which he himself longed to enter into.
But Moses could not bear the news and so he pleaded and asked God if he would go into the promised land, “I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’” (Deuteronomy 3:25). But God was firm and declared that he would not go in (Deuteronomy 3:27) and told him very frankly “‘enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.” (Deuteronomy 3:26).
Imagine how Moses felt. Shattered and disappointed to say the least, wouldn’t you?
And so Moses died in Moab, outside of the promised land, his request and plea to enter seemingly died with him. But, God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”.
Thousands of years later Christ the Saviour appeared on earth on His royal assignment to save you and me. On one special occasion, Jesus took his close friends Peter, James and John to a mountain (which was in the promised land) and He was transfigured and guess who appeared there ministering and speaking to the Saviour – Moses (Mark 9:2-4).
I am not sure if you caught that.
Moses died thousands of years prior and his request to enter the promised land seemingly died with him, but he was resurrected (Jude 1:9) and was there on the mount in the promised land which he pleaded to be in; not only that but he also had the privilege of ministering to his Saviour Jesus Christ!
Even after death God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
I Want to Die - Elijah
Depression is a real thing, no matter what journey of life you are on. After having a powerful experience of moving in faith and by faith calling fire to come down from heaven on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18), Elijah was spiritually on cloud nine. But after every mountain top experience the valleys come along and Elijah slumped into a deep depression: he lost his self worth (1 Kings 19:4), lost his appetite (1 Kings 19:6) and was isolating himself from all social contact (1 Kings 19:3-4, 9) (a few signs of depression). It was a very rough patch for the prophet.
As a result of the rocky road that he was on, Elijah did not see a point in living anymore: “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4).
Maybe you have experienced something like that before, or are experiencing this right now – I just want to encourage you and let you know that God understands what you are going through. He loves you with an everlasting love and has amazing plans for your life, you mean the world to Him and He wants you to remember that there is a way out of this dark place you may be right now - there is light at the end of the tunnel!
If you need someone to talk to or need help please feel free to message me or someone in your circle: (although easier said than done) don’t be afraid of seeking professional and medical help too: asking for help isn’t giving up, it’s refusing to give up.
Elijah requested death but – God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” God took the weight of responsibility from Elijah and put it on his successor Elisha, but even more amazing was that God did not take Elijah’s life away as he requested but He arranged a majestic chariot to take him to heaven without seeing death (2 Kings 2:11).
Not only that, but while he was comforted by God in his depression, Elijah was also privileged to minister, encourage and comfort Jesus on His earthly mission on the mount of transfiguration with Moses (Mark 9:1-4)!
I am not sure what disappointment or setback you have recently faced but I want to encourage and remind you that God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” It may seem that God hasn’t answered your prayer (s) but I know that He has something so much better in store for you, for his thoughts and ways are way above yours (Isaiah 55:8-9).
You may have had a relationship break down which you wished could have been the one but trust me God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
You may have been rejected from a job you really wanted but trust me God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
Whatever setback or disappointment you may face, remember Ephesians 3:20 – God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”, it may not feel like it, it may not look like it but “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
In the abyss of setbacks, in the dearth of disappointment trust Him and His promises for “there has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised” (1 Kings 8:56).