By B.J. Funk –

I thought my life would turn out one way, but it turned out another. The big dreams I had never materialized.

My life didn’t turn out as I thought it would. It turned out better.

I prayed for a godly husband, but then this husband brought pain, disappointment and an eventual dissolvent of our marriage. Crushing blows to the life I had planned brought more heartache than I had ever known. I didn’t get a godly husband. So I had to try to become a more godly me.

That prayer didn’t turn out like I wanted. It turned out better.

I prayed for health, but then I had a tumor in my lung and went for surgery. After the surgery, the doctor told me that 98 percent of tumors in the lung are cancerous. I was in the 2 percent that wasn’t.

A deep sense of humility and gratitude paved the way for a deeper sense of God’s nearness. My prayer for health didn’t turn out like I thought it would. It turned out better.

I prayed for a straight body. Because of scoliosis, I grew up embarrassed over my crooked spine which not only altered my appearance, but brought much pain starting in my teenage years. In my fifties, the doctor told me my crooked spine was getting worse, and I had to have rods in my back.

My prayer for a straight body didn’t happen as I had planned. A painful surgery, however, placed rods on either side, and now my straight and pain-free back is one of the best parts of me.

That prayer didn’t turn out like I wanted. It turned out better.

I have always gained inner strength from a certain nationally published magazine. I don’t believe I’ve missed an issue. I just knew my writing would create a space for me to be trained by them in New York. I just knew that would open the door to book publishing.

That never happened, even as I sent my manuscripts off with a prayer. But, somewhere in the middle of my big dream, God offered me a different intensely satisfying one. Two Christian publications now regularly print my work. I have tremendous fulfillment in not being recognized by the larger audience I thought I wanted.

My prayer for fame didn’t turn out as I had planned. It turned out better.

My plans were to have at least four children. But I could not get pregnant. Then, God sovereignly brought an unexpected, adorable, baby boy into my life through adoption and soon after, an unexpected pregnancy brought another baby boy.  I was greedy. I wanted more, but that didn’t happen.

Later, the Lord brought a new love and marriage into my life, and with that, three stepsons. I had wanted four. God gave me five. My prayer didn’t turn out as I wanted. It turned out better.

My guess is that you have traveled this same sort of journey, one of lost hopes and dreams and prayers that were answered differently than you expected.

We can always trust in God through the tears of lost hope, pain, and broken dreams. He will walk with us through each chapter and challenge of our lives. Sometimes a lost love or a job or circumstance opens up the opportunity for God to do something even better.

“All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to his purposes,” Paul wrote (Romans 8:28). He then went on and declared, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we  are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Sometimes our prayers don’t match our circumstances. Sometimes episodes in our lives turn out better. Yes. Even better than good.


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