Today’s Musing is from Marlene McKenna.

… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:11b-13 NIV

The cool air blew through the parking lot as storm clouds skated across the sky, preparing the snow expected in the morning. We stood in line waiting for our ice cream, but licking our wounds after a different kind of cloud cover loomed. Just as cold and unwanted as snowfall in May, billows of disappointment threatened to steal our joy and contentment.

I wanted to know the end of the story—or at least the next step. After all, I’m the kind of person who likes to read the last chapter of a book to see if it’s worth reading. But my life story isn’t finished yet. I can’t turn the pages or control the outcome. However, in this situation we had expected a certain ending. We prayed and acted in faith and things looked good. We would get what we “wanted.” Then within a few hours, everything changed. Someone else intervened and what we wanted was lost.

Like the rolling waves of the nearby ocean, our emotions peaked, then receded into the vastness of normalcy. But it didn’t feel normal. It felt like we had been tricked or violated somehow—even though we prayed for God’s perfect will and He did answer.

He said, “No.”

Right now, even in the midst of disappointment, I know God allowed the cloud cover. What feels like a loss is actually a faith-building experience that reveals the goodness of God. His goodness demands that He offer His best to His children. Sometimes that doesn’t feel good. In fact, sometimes it is so anticlimactic it makes you angry. This time God and I wanted different things. Or did we?

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I said so. Because I know what’s best for you. Because I love you. Because I am the great I AM.” Then He asked, “Do you trust me?”

Then I realized the truth: This is a spiritual dilemma, not a physical one. Through this small disappointment God revealed that my heart was focused on earthly things, not on things above. My heart’s desire was not God’s best. Like a spoiled child, I wanted to cut across what God was doing in the waiting and live for myself. Instead, God’s love should compel me to echo Paul when He said, “To live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). God wants me to live for Him alone. Disappointment and discontent reveal that I believe Jesus is not enough for me. What He did is not enough for me.

Now, we sit looking behind us and realize this was a catalyst to action. We have a vision. We have plans. So, we wait. How long? I don’t know. As long as it takes. God isn’t going to plot our lives in a predictable way like a romantic novel. Boy doesn’t always get the girl. People don’t always live happily ever after. God surprises us with middles that don’t always make sense. In fact, the end is usually shocking or at least abrupt. There is no neat “The End” this side of Heaven. Instead we will be ushered into another realm altogether. A new life from the womb of the world to the fresh air of Heaven. There we experience everlasting joy. A joy that can’t be yanked out from under us like a cotton rug on a tile floor.

Ask yourself, do I live for the things this temporary world offers? Can I be content in all circumstances? Is God enough for me?

Ultimately, I thank God for unanswered prayers. Or, I should say, I thank Him for saying no. I praise Him for making me wait. I am content to live in the Hope of Heaven. In the meantime, God is the author of my messy middle. Besides, the end is already written.

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. —Philippians 3:8 ESV

Marlene is a wife, mom, and empty nester. Her passion is writing, but she also enjoys golf, travel, and walks on the beach. She loves teaching a discipleship class and longs for all her sisters-in-the-Lord to find freedom in Christ.

God is gracious,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Thank you for this Marlene. It seems to be a continual struggle to be patient and wait on God’s timing for things. It is also difficult in this world to not get caught up in wanting things. Unfortunately our culture today is all about self and obtaining things. Since this world is all we know right now, it is hard to comprehend the world that lies ahead for believers. We just need to keep our focus on God and trust that He knows what is best for us.

    • Yes, Candie,
      Staying nestled close to God is the only way to maintain the peace He promises.
      The reality for us is that Jesus really is all we “need” but He also understands our humanness.
      My hope is in His promise that I am being made more like Jesus in the waiting and that will make an eternal difference.

  • Great read:) I thought I was the only one who reads the end before they start the book!:) I’m glad God doesn’t let us do that with our earthly life. I’m also glad He gives us the end of the story in His story. Thanks for writing.❤️

  • Margaret Fowler
    September 17, 2021 11:27 am

    Thank you, wonderful message, it is my story too, love the way you write it. God bless you, Margaret.


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