A Knot in Time: When Life Isn't Going the Way You Expected

by Sally Matheny

When Life Isn't Going the Way You Expected
Are you discouraged because you thought things would be different by now? While many people reflect on their accomplishments of the past year, we also may focus on our unmet goals. How do we avoid disheartenment when life events didn’t go the way we expected?

Perhaps we thought we’d be farther along in our work. Or we wonder why we can’t go back to the way things used to be. We expected barriers in relationships lowered, and our incomes increased. Our physical health, emotional condition, or social status are not anywhere near the levels of what we had hoped. Like the 1970’s singers in the cornfield on The Hee Haw Show we sing, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me…oh!”

For better or for worse, life can change in a yoctosecond. Quite often, our assessments occur just as quickly.

“Well, that’s it. I’m done. It’s over for me.”
“Things will never get better.”
“I’m pathetic.”
“My life stinks.”
“There’s no hope.”

Get out of that cornfield. I’ve got some good news for you! I’d love to be able to tell you that everything you’d hoped for will come true, but I don’t know that anymore than you do. But let me share with you what I do know.

Dear friend, just because life isn’t going the way we expected, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. There is always hope. Always.

The problem lies with our range of vision. It’s limited. Imagine for a moment each of us is like an embroidery needle, and our lives are like embroidery threads. How far ahead can we see as we go about our lives?

We can only see the stitches behind us and the stitch with which we are currently involved. Day in and day out. Moment by moment. One stitch at a time.

Sometimes we see the beautiful work of another needle, and wish we could achieve the same result. Our frustration grows with each snag in our life journey. Sometimes it seems we are going in circles. Quite often, we wonder why God is impeding our progress by having us back up and redo a step, over and over again.

But, we cannot see the whole picture like the Master Craftsman. He works those snags into knots of beautiful color. The reason for those circling patterns will soon blossom into focus. What we consider a step back, He has the power to use it to strengthen us. God isn’t impeding us; He is growing us into something wonderful.  

We cannot see the whole picture like the Master Craftsman.
God allows us to choose the direction we want to go. He loves us so much He wants to teach us along the way. Although He is the ultimate Craftsman, He is gentle, and will not force us to follow His guiding hand.

Too often, we rush ahead, thinking we can create something beautiful on our own. Or we expect others to make our life journeys look the way we think they should be. The threads of everyone else’s lives look smoother, neater, and more delightful. Affirmation is sought from all the other “embroidery needles” rather than from the Master Craftsman.

Just as there are no two identical people in the world, neither did God plan identical life journeys. He created you with love. Your life is as unique as your physical design. Because we live in a sinful world, there will be hardships. We may not know what difficulties our neighbor has overcome, or is enduring, in order to present the "perfect" life we see. 

God has designed a plan especially for you. A plan with a purpose and a glorious outcome. Do you believe that? 

It’s wise to read the Bible daily to remind us how God often works.

He chooses the unlikely.
He does the unexpected.
He is faithful and true.
He is all-knowing and all-powerful.
He is sovereign.

It’s good to reflect on the past. Just don’t allow Satan to push you into a cornfield of gloom and doom.

Tomorrow is a new day. Are you ready?
You can ask God what He wants you to learn from the difficulties you faced this year. He will divulge that to you in the time He thinks is best. We may never fully understand why life events unfold as they do. Our vision is limited, but we can always trust God’s guiding hand to be there. Our hope rests in Him. If we trust Him, the overall result will be exquisite! Isn't that exciting?

Tomorrow is a new day. 
It’s time to make another stitch. 
Will you trust Him?



  1. So true...so true. He sees the overall picture and that is why He is ultimately trustworthy and worthy of praise!

    1. I agree. And thank goodness God is patient as He works in our lives. I'm sure I'm a challenging project!

    2. I love watching how you trust God to weave His plan and purpose in your life. Thankful He gives you insights which encourage others, including your mama.

    3. Thank you for your kind words. I learned a lot about encouraging others from my mama. :)


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