It is inevitable. At some point in your life, you will receive a bad report. We all face disappointments, challenges, setbacks, and heartbreaks. How you respond when trials come is critical—for your attitude can influence not only your emotions, but also your faith.
This week I received several bad reports. The first came via a letter in the mail. Another in a heartbreaking text from a friend. A third through a discouraging situation made known on social media.
The irony of a bad report is that it contains factual information that opposes the promises of God, and can be the very situation God uses to test our faith in Him. Do you repeat the bad report when it comes, or do you hold fast to God and contend for His promises to be fulfilled?
In Numbers chapter 13, we read the story of the twelve men Moses sent out to scout the land God had promised to the children of Israel. When the scouts came back, they spoke of a good land “flowing with milk and honey.” But they had a problem. The people living in the land were strong and powerful. Outmatched in strength, physical size and number, the scouts were afraid. They spread a bad report among the children of Israel (v. 32).
Often, the first response to a bad report is fear. If you’re not careful, a bad report can threaten to—
—steal your hope
—kill your dreams, and
—destroy your faith in God
Eight years ago, my husband Gabriel received a bad report. This was near the start of 2009, when our economy crumbled… and Gabriel was laid off from his job after nearly 20 years of service. Our first response was to consolidate our bills to conserve our resources. Re-financing our home to obtain a lower payment seemed the reasonable decision at the time. But in my heart, I recognized I was operating out of fear, not faith. I knew God had shown me that He was opening the doors for Gabriel to step into photography with me and develop our business into a full-time enterprise, and that He would provide for our every need.
Fear and faith were fighting for supremacy. Which would I choose?
Ultimately, the choice was removed from our hands—at the last moment, were were unable to close on our refinance. I experienced a great sense of relief, as I was left with no other option but faith.
In the past eight years, God has shown Himself faithful every step of the way. He showed us how to depend on Him (lessons we still continue to learn, by the way). He opened doors we never dreamed were possible and led us into nations we never thought we’d see. And He gave us the resources to meet all our obligations, including those for our home. At the beginning of December, Gabriel and I walked into our bank together, sat down with our banker and paid off our home mortgage. The bad report from eight years ago was buried as the last nail hit its coffin.
You, too, may be facing a bad report in your life. Things might not be turning out the way you expected them to go. Disappointments, crushing heartbreak and the death of dreams may lay at your feet. If that’s you, take hope. Lift your eyes above the bad report and up onto the promises of God. If you don’t have a promise to hold onto, ask Him for one. Open His word. He will speak to you by the power of His Spirit. He wants to make His presence known.
As you find His promise for you, center your heart on this word from Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen! Know that I am praying for you. Be blessed!