Turning a Setback into a Comeback

Have you ever encountered a setback where something unexpected messed up your plans and resulted in feelings of discouragement and disappointment? Maybe your setback involved a failed relationship, a health issue, a financial problem, or a curveball in your career or education. Setbacks cause delays and inconvenience – and may cause you to question the direction that you are headed with your life. This doesn’t mean that setbacks are failures. Setbacks don’t have to define your future. And I know that some of my setbacks actually resulted in something even better that God had for me. 

Many great people faced setbacks in their lives. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Thomas Edison failed multiple times in inventing the light bulb. Walt Disney was fired from a job for not being creative enough. These individuals obviously got back up and kept going, achieving great success, and inspiring us all. 

The Bible is full of stories where men and women experienced serious setbacks. Here are a few:

  • Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. He ended up in prison but eventually became the Pharaoh’s right-hand man over all of Egypt. 
  • Esther was sentenced to marry a king who had his previous wife killed. Just weeks after getting married, her new husband unwittingly signs a decree that all of Ether’s people should be eliminated. Esther went before the king and made an appeal for her people and was ultimately successful.  
  • Paul was put in prison and experienced many unexpected delays in his efforts to spread the gospel. In Philippians 4:11-12. he wrote, “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.

What did these individuals have in common? They trusted in God and sought His help in difficult times. When things didn’t go as desired, they maintained a positive attitude because they knew God would make all things work out according to His purpose. If you are feeling discouraged over an apparent setback, remember these individuals. 

Here are five things to do after suffering a setback.

  • Assess your situation.
    Think about what you can learn from the situation. How did you get here? What could you have done differently? What are your options now? 
  • Take a break.
    You may need to rest and recuperate after the setback. This isn’t the same thing as giving up. Fatigue may have even contributed to the setback so take some time to rest.
  • Ask for help.
    First, ask God for His guidance and assistance. You may also want to ask someone else you trust for advice on your next steps.
  • Trust God.
    Trust that He will carry you through the setback or trial. Refamiliarize yourself with how great He is. This can help calm you down and put things into perspective.
  • Don’t give up.
    Many people give up when things don’t go their way. If you feel that you should proceed with your original plans, then do so. Or if you think you may need to reassess your path and change course, do that. But don’t throw in the towel! 

In conclusion, remember – it’s just a setback. It’s not your future. God may be orchestrating something unexpectedly good in your life, despite the reversal of your plans. Turn your setback into a comeback!


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