When the breakthrough isn’t the breakthrough I asked for
One of the names of God is Baal Perazim – the God of the breakthrough. We Christians have become quite adept at calling on the God of the breakthrough to breakthrough in the negatives of our lives; whether it’s a breakthrough in our marriage (or singleness), our finances, our health, our families, our jobs, our work colleagues, and so on.
But what about when the breakthrough doesn’t come?
I can’t be the only one! Can I?
Or is it not ‘Christian’ to admit it…that the breakthrough that I asked for didn’t come? Was I lacking something? Faith maybe…not enough of that…or persistence, maybe I didn’t pray for long enough, fasting…was my fast not extreme enough? What else do I need to do, ask, pray to ‘get God to give me’ my breakthrough?
Or could it be that the breakthrough wasn’t the breakthrough I asked for, so I didn’t recognise it as one?
Maybe the breakthrough that God gives us is not what we expect, and maybe even not what we want. What if the breakthrough is something God does in us rather than something that God does for us, on our behalf, or to a person/set of circumstances?
I read a book last month. Not a Christian book, a children’s fiction book called ‘A Monster Calls’ (Patrick Ness). It’s the journey of a boy (Conor) whose mother has terminal cancer. Yes, I did say children’s fiction.
He is visited by a yew tree that comes to life and he comes to believe that the tree’s actual purpose is to heal his mom…the chemotherapy drug Taxotere is made from the needles of the yew tree (a fact…check it out)!
It transpires that although the yew is a healing tree, it’s purpose was to heal the boy.
To heal him from the guilt and the shame of wanting the pain and suffering to be over.
To give him the strength to tell his mom that he didn’t want her to go.
To tell his mom that he loved her.
To tell his mom goodbye.
You see, sometimes the breakthrough isn’t the breakthrough we asked for.
Maybe the breakthrough isn’t that we won’t mourn, but the comfort of God when we do.
Maybe it’s not the absence of negative circumstances, but the presence of God in those circumstances.
Maybe it’s not that we won’t suffer, but that we have a God who knows what it is to suffer and is present in our suffering.
When the breakthrough isn’t what you asked for, God has you in his arms just like the yew tree carried Conor in it’s healing branches, but like Conor you don’t get to choose how He heals.
On reflection, I don’t believe the yew tree was the monster in this story.
Don’t for a second believe that God is the ‘monster’ in your story either…even when the breakthrough isn’t the one you asked for.