What to Do When Nothing Goes Like You Thought

What to Do When Nothing Goes Like You Thought

IMG_0572How many times have you entered a troubling life circumstance with such high hopes? With faith that seemed like it would move mountains? Only to discover that nothing turned out like you dreamed it would?

Our trip from Florida to California to be with Dori has been such a week for us. On July 1 this year, she underwent cancer surgery that removed part of her colon, a large portion of her liver (it will regenerate), and her gall bladder.

Our girl has been so brave throughout her chemotherapy treatments and even through the surgery and week in the hospital. After being home a few days though, she incurred a massive infection both in and outside the site of the surgery. Dangerous and painful, the situation called for a drain to remove the infection, so on the day of our arrival, Dori was re-hospitalized where she has remained the entire time of our stay.

Haven’t you wondered sometimes why God seems far away right when you think he should be acting dramatically and promptly? You cry out to him, knowing he is truly the only resource at this point, and…nothing!

And don’t you feel puzzled when you know dozens, maybe hundreds, of people are praying and still the heavens are like a hard, grey cement?

That’s where I was this morning when I let the water run warm in the sink and picked up the bar of lemongrass soap. Pondering, questioning, maybe even complaining a bit as I scrubbed my face hard.

I want to be a true follower of Jesus – one who has giant faith that never wavers. I’m not doing that well today, Father. I’m tired in the battle and I want to retreat to some safe haven where it’s cool and quiet and there are no waves in the aquamarine waters.

Is that realistic? Do you find anyone like that in scripture? Didn’t David get discouraged after years of running from Saul? Didn’t Abraham lose heart waiting for the promised son? Paul, Peter – they too experienced times of being disheartened and wanting to give up.

As I peered into the mirror with a soapy face, this word came to me:

Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. ~Hebrews 6:11-12 NLT

Faith and endurance. That’s what is called for. Not just faith. This is a test no one can pass unless they endure. God’s Word shows us how to do this.

 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:2,3

I knew this morning that’s where I was. I had become weary and I wanted to give up. As I mused about all this, another verse came to mind. One that has led me through other dark labyrinths where I became weary.

When verses come to mind in the middle of my questions, I always feel God is talking to me. That he’s reminding me there are answers – not always the ones I want to hear, but enough to encourage me to keep plodding through. Enough to say “you’ll reap a harvest of blessings if you don’t get discouraged and give up” (Galatians 6:9).

These are the words that came:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19 NLT

That’s it. That’s my answer. I can choose to rejoice in who God is, in his timing, his promise of deliverance – or I can stay discouraged and hopeless. I can believe whatever I want to believe.

Those were all my thoughts this morning at 7 when the house phone rang. Imagine me, dumb as a post, when the chipper voice on the other end said, “Hi. I’m coming home at noon.”

“What? What happened to you?” She didn’t even sound like the same person.

“I don’t know. I’m just better and they said I can come home.”

He works like that, you know. Turns things around on a dime sometimes. The battle was wearisome last night. But here we are this morning – basking in the joy.

And in the end, I know I must thank him for the test. For the opportunity to learn endurance. I’ll need it for the next time.

As I wrap up this blog, the phone rings again, and Dori says, “I won’t be coming home until tomorrow. They are still working on getting rid of the fluid in my lungs and they want one more day.”

*Sigh* “The one who endures to the end will be delivered.” Matthew 24:13.



  1. Thank you for Sharing your heart today. I can relate to your blog and believe this is a common journey for most.. Thank God for His word and faithfulness to those that love and seek Him. Sending prayers and love your way..
    Growing in endurance,


  2. The burden is heavy and the struggle is long, but he that endure to the end will be saved. My deliverance comes from the Lord. In him will I trust. My trust is in you Lord. You are the healer and the deliverer. Where else could I go but to you. Thank you Lord for allowing us the few precious days to see Dori and thank You for her complete recovery to good strong health again. I love you Cathee and Dori.

  3. you’re amazing and inspiring! More than you know!

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart, Cathee. I know this has been a puzzling, long, hard week. When we’re in the battle it’s sometimes hard to remember that “it’s always safe to trust the Lord.” Even when we don’t understand His plan. I have to be continually reminded of this and so for years I’ve had Hab. 2:13 typed out and pasted to the front of my computer so that I read it every day.

    Another thing I continually go back to is my favorite quote from Martin Luther:
    “All who are dear to Him must suffer. Christians conquer when they suffer; Only when they rebel and resist are they defeated and lose the day
    Those who are to be the bones and sinews of the Church must expect the hardest blows.
    Our God is like a printer who sets the letters backward, so that here we cannot read them. When we are printed off yonder, in the life to come, we shall read all clear and straight forward.
    Meantime, we must have *patience.*”

    Sending love to you, Bob and Dori as we ask for God’s perfect will in this situation.

  5. Cathee .. you’ve done it again. Such a gift with putting your heart out on the line with words that can only come from our Lord. I love you and am praying like 60 for Dori. Trusting you’ve had a good & uneventful trip home to FL.

  6. I am sending this to my church group and one woman in particular who is a job search and not sure God’s will for her life and career. She needs support exactly like this. So thankful that in the heat of the battle, you can give yourself such a pep talk and at the same time minister to all of us.

  7. Whoa, this experience is so deep and so rich. I love that scripture from Habakkuk. You are providing a faith feast for all of us. I’m at the banqueting table with you. Glory!

  8. It is after midnight here, but just wanted you to know I enjoyed reading your blog etc.

    I think the highlight of today (Wed) was receiving the text/picture. I really love the picture you send me about 10 (here) with Bob driving his pretty daughter home 🙂 I was so excited. I’ve read your last text about Dori being in her own bed. I am sure that really made her happy! I know how special it was and how you loved putting your daughter to bed! Even though you will be leaving before the sun rises, I know it meant so much to see how God allowed you all to get her safely back home before you had to leave. Love, hugs and prayers to all of you.

  9. Cathee, it never ceases to amaze me when God’s precious words fill that chaos in my mind… so sweet, so precious, so calming and healing. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently.

  10. Mispelled my own last name!

  11. Cathee, you speak so from the heart and God is holding you and Bob in the palm of His hand through a swirl of daily changes. You both are so faithful to God’s call to go to California. The fruit is ripening (love that grocery store picture on your facebook page) and will be ready for the picking some day due to your planting seeds of God’s precious presence. You came. You sat. You waited. We all prayed but you and Bob gave Dori hands-on touching prayer. God worked through all prayer- yours and ours. You encouraged Dori through a really tough time. God’s precious presence shines brightly from your soul as you write. Praise God. We will keep praying as God continues to use you and Bob in Dori’s life.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story of faith and staying the course even in the light of all that has transpired. Proud of you all.

  13. Dear Cathee,

    Wow! I have felt the same way these past six years of trials and tribulations, and the Lord has brought me to the same place as you. Much of the time, He carried me because of my weakness. We have a great Heavenly Father who loves us and always wants the best for us. Though, His teachings are some times very hard, it is all for our good. Thanks for sharing this story in your Blog, it nice to know that we don’t walk this path alone.

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