If you’re human, you’ve probably gone through a hard time or two in your life. If not, sooner or later you probably will just because life is like that. We are not immune or exempt. If you’re prophetic, sometimes this can be even more challenging, especially when the opposite of what has been prophesied over your life is happening.

How do you handle prophetic words in trying times? How do you handle prophetic words that have been spoken in the past when they blatantly contradict your present circumstances? How do you handle prophetic words that people speak in the midst of trying times? Which words do you hang on to?

These are challenging questions. The short answer is, “with a lot of discernment.” The long answer is, “It depends on many factors. It’s complicated.”

What happens in trying times is that we get confused. We get confused over the words spoken into our lives. It could be that the word we received is being tested. Any word of significance will face opposition in our lives. The word gives us courage to press on in the face of opposition.

Sometimes we misinterpret words that are being spoken into our lives in the midst of opposition. If we have lost our job, any word about provision or promotion may be interpreted as receiving the next job we’re applying for. The tendency is to take any word that comes along as encouragement to an immediate situation when the word may have long range implications for the future. This twisting of words is understandable but often leads to disappointment and frustration when the immediate situation does not turn out the way we want.

Patience through trying times and a good measure of discernment is paramount in these situations. It is much easier to see in retrospect which words were misapplied and misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that God is misleading us or frustrating us. It just means that we want words to apply directly to our immediate situation to provide immediate relief. Sometimes it is this way but not always.

Prophetic words prophesy us into our destiny and sometimes our destiny takes longer to work out than we would like. God is patient with our process; we should be patient too.

Do not be discouraged when prophetic words don’t always work out in our trying times as we anticipate. God may have a greater good in mind that we don’t yet understand. Our tendency to jump to quick conclusions may lead to misinterpretations of the word that God did not intend.

Take the sum total of your prophetic words. Sometimes we have many words over time that point in a certain direction, but then difficult times come upon us, and a new word comes our way, and we are tempted to veer off in a completely different direction. This is not bad, and sometimes God takes us in a new direction. However, had we stopped to look and listen and we might discover that God is still taking us in the direction that He prophesied into our lives a long time ago.

By Ralph Veenstra