Interfering with God?

Interfering with God?

For a compelling novel, a good writer will keep reversing the outcome to create suspense. Setbacks and turnarounds build emotional intensity. The goal is to bring a climax or what some call, “the dark moment.” Who doesn’t enjoy the roller coaster ride of a good story?

However in our real lives, we don’t like it. We want the happily-ever-after thread in our circumstances.

Still, desperate times often bring profound turning points.

iStock_000008065336SmallFor example, by 1999 AIDS had ravaged Uganda, East Africa. Studies predicted by the year 2000, 30% of Uganda’s population would die from AIDS and another 30% would be infected. The remaining people, mostly children and the elderly, could not work leading to an economic collapse.[1]

Things had become dire.

On New Year’s Eve, 1999, President and First Lady Museveni joined over 45,000 people in Mandela National Stadium to make a public proclamation. They committed their nation to the purposes of God under the Lordship of Christ for the next 1,000 years.[2]

A shift was underway.

photo-4In August 2003, my family traveled to Uganda. My husband had recently started Uganda Orphans Fund to rescue orphans. With the pall of death still prevalent, our family prayed for a woman nearly expired from AIDS. After several months, she miraculously recovered. Many wonders were starting to happen.

Prayer Meeting in UgandaThen on December 26, 2003, the largest prayer gathering in Uganda’s history was held. All through the night for 12 hours, 25,000 pastors mobilized three million Christians to pray in 50 stadiums—one in each district of the nation.

The outcome was astonishing! Read the full story… Uganda’s Miracle

Ugandan pastor Jackson Senyonga, said people at the highest levels of power were changed. New government ministries were established, including the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity. Christians were placed in the most sensitive positions. Members of parliament started weekly prayer meetings, and First Lady Janet Museveni prayed publicly. Laws were rewritten to favor God’s principles. Judges acknowledged praying privately, and police often sent prayer requests to churches. Intercessory prayer was even broadcast over the radio. The crime rate dropped a whopping 50 percent. Abstinence and monogamy were promoted and proved essential in reversing the devastating spread of AIDS. Countless supernatural healings of AIDS patients occurred that doctors couldn’t explain. And most shocking, there were documented accounts of people being raised from the dead.

Pastor Senyonga praised God for his nation’s suffering, saying God used it to bring Ugandans to a point of desperation. “We suffered so much, and Satan pressed us so far out, we ended up in the hands of God.”[3]

Desperation invites the Spirit of God.

BUSH  MUSEVENIThat same year (2003), George W. Bush established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Most western AIDS activists credit Bush’s program with stopping the epidemic in Uganda. Only 100,000 Africans were receiving anti-retroviral drugs. By the time Bush left office, the number reached almost 2 million. Even Bush’s most ardent critics are still praising his efforts. On Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, U2’s Bono said, “George kind of knocked it out of the park!”[4]

I agree. Who wouldn’t want to save lives?

But sometimes what seems good—and may even be good—can result in unintended consequences that are bad. Here’s what happened…

Because the death rate in Uganda skyrocketed, promiscuous sexual practices slowed down dramatically. God was working on the people’s hearts and minds. He moved in great power with signs and wonders in response to their prayers. But as anti-retroviral drugs from America were distributed, people’s perceptions changed. AIDS no longer seemed like a death sentence. Rather—a treatable disease.

As a result, risky behavior returned.

Men began leaving their wives and children again for new sexual partners, creating poverty and instability for those left behind.

When good efforts bring an unexpected bad outcome, it gives one pause. Were our good intentions right or were we interfering with God? Do harsh temporal realities bring a moral and spiritual change? History would say yes. Some of the greatest revivals in our country occurred during the Civil War and the Great Depression.

iStock_000039953360SmallSaving lives is important, and ultimately, people will still be accountable for their choices—anti-retroviral drugs or not. But we also need discernment when our help has a downside.

Think of the difficult times in your own life. In retrospect—did the struggle cause you to grow? Can you trust that God is working for good even in your suffering?

When we pray hard for something and the answer is “NO” or God doesn’t seem to “fix” it, maybe He is saying, “I have greater purposes at stake than what you want.”

God is asking us to view our world with spiritual eyes…“we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.        (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Why is this important? Our genuine prayers for good things might be interfering with God in some cases. It’s important to consider, because the world is already groaning with sorrows and tragedies. Can we have bold faith that God’s goodness is intact even when things look really bad?

What’s your take…







  1. It is hard to discern when you have fear. I do. I am so scared of what is going on today. Everywhere. And yet reading what you have said gives me hope. Just maybe, God is allowing this to invite us to come to repentance and turn back to Him. But I have a question, How do you know, because Jesus said things would get worse and worse before He came, so can we still expect God to rescue and change or nations or is it just because its getting dark anyway? I really hope there is an answer,please! Today I felt so low till I read this, but I still have the question.

    • Nicola…I understand your feelings. I believe there will be tribulation in this life–Jesus said so. To live is Christ, to die is gain and we have to put our earthly lives in His hands. He has our days counted out already. But, I also believe that in the darkest times we will see the Kingdom of God like never before. There will be the greatest harvest ever. So stand firm that God’s heart is for us and that love is the foundation of all things.

  2. “Ask people why they DON’T believe in God and the number one reason will be suffering. Ask people who DO believe in God when they grew the most spiritually and the number one reason will be suffering.”–Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. Much like your AIDS example the difference seems to be your starting point. Later in his book he explains you can’t run in the dark. During the dark times you slow down, do less and ask for help.

    Thanks Susan! Your the only blog I read because I know you will stretch and challenge my thinking or in today’s message challenge the way I pray!

  3. my experience has been…the darker the night, the brighter His light. the challenge is, when the sun comes up again metaphorically, we need to remember to follow His light, listen for His voice amid all the static and distraction that comes with our culture. God’s light never dims, our perception of it does. God’s laws do not change, our will to follow them does. No matter how badly we mess up this planet, God’s purpose and Love for us never changes. We are little strutting flecks on a gorgeous blue marble spinning at a velocity of 25,000 mph through the vast beautiful vacuum of the universe all created by God: the odd miracle is that He loves each of us so much and asks only that we love Him back and love each other. keep up the good work there Susan. I love your postings, and like kate, you are one of the few I actually read. love always, janet

  4. i am simplistic, when things go bump in the night, i remember “he’s got the whole world in his hands…he’s got the little bitty baby in his hands…you and me sister/brother in his hands…”

    our world is out of control with darkness that LOOKS like it’s winning. . . demon-driven bumping in what feels like a lengthening night. fear wants to take us down, immobilize us, but our god knows everything little tiny detail ALL the time in each of our lives and in the big picture of history. like the song words say….
    do i always get instance inner peace? no. but it’s within me and god never ever lets go of my hand. yeah, like that walking through the valley of the shadow of death thing. we will and we do or it wouldn’t be laid out there in his word, but god leads us to a faith-place where he helps us fear no evil.
    wonderful encouraging post. formulating a comment made me think and voila, land in his hands! right there with the rest of “the whole world”. thank you, darling.
    suzee B

    • Oh Suzee, you are so right. I easily slide into “freaked-out” camp when I watch the news. God is at work, He’s got this one, and He knows the days He’s counted out for each of us. Your childlikeness is refreshing. love, S

  5. I believe the side bars of life, the struggles, the detours if you will, are what cause us the most growth. Interesting perspective on the AIDS epidemic. It will be interesting to see how the Ebola virus affects nations behavior and faith. Praying that God has HIS Way!