What to Do When Good News is No Longer Good

by | Jan 16, 2015 | Encouragement, Sabbath


On Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after I published those words about worry, I peeked back into the bedroom from my office and began talking to H. And then stopped mid-sentence after realizing he was on the phone with our realtor.

It was early. I knew by his “Um, hm,” and “No, I understand,” that the reason for the call wasn’t good news.

The buyers changed their mind about purchasing our house for reasons that elude all of us.

Our realtor was up all night praying about how to tell us.

Propping myself up against pillows and headboard, I pull the duvet up to my waist and listen to the end of their conversation. I knew God was giving me a choice about my response to this unexpected, bad news in our journey.

I can assume that the good news we got on New Year’s Eve about our house selling was ultimately an act of meanness; a test in my faith I am certain to fail with emotion. Tears of sadness stream down my face.

Or I can trust Him and believe he works all things together for my good, even in the midst of disappointment. Even in the midst of what seemed like an obvious answer to prayerful intercession by many.

I chose the first and then changed my mind and picked the latter.

The biggest hurdle we face as followers of Jesus is resisting assumptions about the way God feels about us based on circumstances.

The ways of God cannot be figured out, explained or reasoned into some kind of Hallmark understanding. When I want explanation for pain or suffering, I discount the mystery. Finding resolution becomes about me, not the purposes of Jesus.

His love for us is not determined by or relative to the outcomes of circumstance.

Perhaps that is why He healed on the Sabbath, for the way it dispels any rumors. About the way of Jesus fitting into a tidy, neat, little box.

Jesus is Sabbath. Sometimes our labor — whether physical, spiritual or mental — is preparation for experiencing the miracle in that.

May we all know the beauty of the communion of saints encircled among us, holding each other up when  knees become wobbly in hardship. Sturdy, steadfast and earnest, that is what you’ve been for me this week. And words cannot begin to communicate the depth of my gratitude.

Happy Sabbath Friends!


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  1. kelly greer

    I hear ya Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      I know, thank you Kelly. You’re the best!

  2. joni

    I get it just dont know how to deal with it.

    • Shelly Miller

      I understand Joni, I do. I know I long for instant results and resolution and God just doesn’t deal with us that way. Most of life is a process when we long for handbooks that give us steps. It is only when we look back that we can see the way God was present with us all along, for our good. It is in the midst of waiting and silence that the challenge to see him comes. Hang in there, help is on the way.

  3. Celeste

    I think that your honesty in this whole process speak loudly to a lot of us.
    When we began this second adoption I said to my husband, ” are you ready for this roller coaster ride again?”
    The lack of communication, the ongoing request for money, the ever constant change in policy that once again gives demands for more money. I know that once you get to the end of that yellow brick road one will look back at the path and see that those twists and dead ends were, “meant for good”. But sometimes, I want to give a good up and down foot stamp in frustration. I’m human.
    I read something today by CS Lewis.
    ” the difficulty comes from thinking that God is progressing along the Timeline like us;
    You pray for all of us…we are praying for you as you abide in this present time.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m glad my honesty is speaking to . . anyone Celeste. The last thing I want to do here is be all about me but then our stories are all about us, aren’t they? My most fervent prayer is that my journey will somehow make a difference for someone who needs hope. That would be tremendous grace. Like your prayers for me. I’m humbled, thank you. I love that CS Lewis quote, so full of wisdom that saint. Let me know how I can pray for this second adoption Celeste. I would love to stand in the gap with you friend.

      • Celeste

        Oh, the age old patience for me. I get frustrated by the lack of direct communication. I try to read that quote often as we are dealing with a time element. It took 3-1/2 years for Bek. I need to remind myself often about God’s timing and His provision for this part of our lives. Just as U pray it fir your family.
        Thanks Shelly
        PS. It is your honest words that speak to me. You are a very real person. In a world that projects perfection behind masks, your willingness to speak out about things, sharing your tears and pain makes me feel that I am not alone in my thoughts.

  4. Veronica

    This verse came to mind when I read your words;

    Jeremiah 29:11-13
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

    Cry those tears and know God is crying along with you, but one day you will find yourself in the land of milk and honey. Praying with you!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you so much for this verse Veronica. It is a great comfort, I came back here more than once. Appreciate you!

  5. shughes

    I am still confident I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; wait for the Lord… Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Sandra, appreciate you!!

  6. pastordt

    Hang in, my friend. It will happen – I just haven’t a clue when. Sigh.

  7. Nancy Ruegg

    Shelly, your wisdom astounds me: “When I want explanation for pain or suffering, I discount the mystery. Finding resolution becomes about me, not the purposes of Jesus. His love for us is not determined by or relative to the outcomes of circumstance.” Oh, Shelly, may God grant you sweet, inexplicable peace in spite of the questions and mystery surrounding the collapse of your house being sold. You are so right: To assume that unanswered prayer is the result of sin, mistakes, or omissions is erroneous. No doubt you’ve heard the quote, “God’s delays are not necessarily his denials.”

    I still firmly believe that your passion for London is God-inspired, that he has a unique mission for you there. Another quote comes to mind that applies to your situation: “Faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse” (Philip Yancey). Someday we’ll understand what this long period of waiting and these frustrating setbacks have been about. Meanwhile, I’m believing that your dream WILL BE fulfilled!

  8. Ahyana

    I read this, identify, and slowly say aloud ” I can expect the best outcome because God knows what’s best and wants the best for me because He loves me.” Thanks for sharing Shelky and I am still praying.

  9. Carolyn Counterman

    Shelly, I needed to wait until today to read this. Exactly today. I need to print this out and let my granddaughter read it. Yes, just this moment was the right time.

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