Look for God's light in the darkness.  When you face a dark situation that's beyond what you can handle, God will provide the light of grace you need to deal with it and the light of power you need to grow from it. Remind yourself of some times in the past when God has come through for you in unexpected ways, and let those memories reassure you that He will do so again. Choose to love God even when you feel abandoned and to worship Him through your tears, trusting that He will continue to be faithful to do what's best for you.

Embrace the gift of community.  Don't isolate yourself from other people; doing so will only make your pain worse. Instead, dare to face who you really are and risk opening your life up to others so you can build authentic and meaningful relationships with them. Value the encouragement and support that those relationships can give you.

Love God more than your dreams.  If you give more love and devotion to your own dreams for your life than you do to God, you're bound to be disappointed. Choose to love God more than any particular dream so you can receive His best for you.

Find hope.  When you feel hopeless, remember that God works powerfully in situations that seem hopeless. He even conquered death on the Cross for the world's sins - the ultimate hopeless situation - to make eternal life possible.

Wait well.  It's while you're in the process of waiting for what you're longing for that God often transforms you into a stronger person.  So trust God's timing rather than when you wish He would act.

Use your pain to examine your life.  Ask God to show you what He wants you to learn from the pain of your own plans falling apart.  Don't settle for a mediocre, unexamined life. Let your pain motivate you to grow.

Keep choosing faith.  Remember that, eventually, God will bring an end to your suffering - and in the meantime, He wants you to continue to trust Him. Keep choosing to have faith in Him: trusting Him, loving Him, and letting Him change you to become more like Jesus.

Adapted from Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?, copyright 2009 by Pete Wilson.  Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, the second church he has planted in the last seven years. Pete graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in communications then attended seminary at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His desire is to see churches become radically devoted to Christ, irrevocably committed to one another, and relentlessly dedicated to reaching those outside of God's family. He is married to Brandi and together they have three boys.

Original publication date: March 16, 2010