Words of Hope: Setback to Comeback

I love the phrase, “A setback is a setup for a comeback.” I have been chanting this in my mind for the last few days. All the remarkable stories have this trajectory. I think of Esther in the shadow of the wicked plans of Haman building gallows to hang all the Jewish people. I think of her courage in the face of such desperate wickedness, and her commitment to pray. I think of Daniel, in captivity, in the snares of cunning men who aspire to do him harm, and I think of him in the lions’ den. I consider his daily discipline to pray to trust God despite terrible odds. I think of Joseph, stuck in a pit, sold as a slave, wrongly accused, and thrown into prison. But God has a story to tell. This is the good news of the gospel. God is in the habit of comebacks. This is the resurrection promise.  

I think of Dad. Hater of God, with a huge bitterness against Christianity, doing a 180 degree turn and completely changing his worldview. I think of NBC Camps. A camp in the middle of nowhere in Washington, with no pro player to endorse it. Without any major sponsor, backer, or name other than Jesus and watching the miracle of its growth from 108 kids to serving almost 450,000 students.  

I think of NBC Camps still in business after 50 years, enduring challenges, insults, struggles, and difficulties. I think about Covid and having no campers, the fear for our staff with families. Will we make it through the year? I stand in wonder now with sold-out camps and hundreds on waitlists. I think of Dad getting stage four cancer, writing a book, and creating Words of Hope.  

I know some of you are facing a significant setback, but this is just God’s setup for a spectacular comeback. It may not look the way you imagined because God is in the habit of surprises. But I do know, we will be able to stand in awe together someday with joy and exclaim, “Look and see what God has done!” 

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. – – 1 Peter 4:12-14