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Determination, Desperation, Manifestation

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

It is not by coincidence or by luck that anyone gets what they ask for or not get what they did not ask for. It is the same as for those who got what they did not ask for and for those who do not get what they asked for. Whether by prayer, pleading, supplication, petitioning or trying to make something happen by the work of man’s hand is the reward we get and then we call it God. We take a chance – like gambling on believing God for something and then go around and call it luck. When things do not work out the way we planned it we say we missed God’s blessing. John 5:1-17 tells of a man along with many who knew about the pool that would be stirred up by the angel. The Jews were furious to see a man:

* Who was healed by the word spoken by Jesus,

* Who was healed on the Sabbath,

* Who carried his bed and was walking.

The Jews missed the point of what happened because they were busy trying to keep the law, finding fault in healing and the man who carried his bed himself. Let us go back thirty-eight years of the many people who had to have someone carry them to the pool. They could have camped out the night before so that the Law would not be broken. Thousands of individuals along with the one that was healed went every year hoping they would be the first to get in the water. That is called determination. There they were waiting for the water to be turned knowing only the first person in the pool would have been healed. Everyone wishing it was them. They probably would have the lamer, weaker, blind, deaf, sicker people behind them because of their inability to get to water fast enough. It was easier for the stronger in body to reach the water.

During the man’s lifetime thirty-eight people got healed in front of him. His desire was limited by his resources of someone who could actually help him in the pool. Who would help him be the first since everyone was there for the same reason. That is called Desperation. From within the crowd Jesus’ compassion overrides and the voice of truth asks the question requiring one answer. “Do you want to be made well?” Jesus already knowing the answer knew the man’s problem. He did not ask him what his problem was, what his symptoms were, how long he had suffered. He simply asked a question. “Do you want to be made well?” In the end, Jesus is the Word that healed the man immediately. This is called manifestation. It happened. The man was made well. Jesus could not deny it, the man could not deny it, the others that were lame, deaf, crippled or ill, could not deny it. Even the Jews could not deny it. But instead of focusing on the miracle that had happened or rejoicing for the one who could not walk, it was more important for the Jews to come against the miracle of God through the laws of man.

When miracles happen, there is determination, desperation, and manifestation. Do not deny the power, do not deny the evidence and do not condemn the one who testifies of the miracle. Be made well,” Jesus replied in the same manner with a bold statement. “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” How can he do such a thing that was contrary to the healing expected? How could a man who has not walked for thirty-eight years just carry a bed much less himself? What if his strength left him? What would others say? Healing came and that’s what mattered.

  • Have you ever wanted something so much that you would do anything?

  • What did you do that was so out of the ordinary to get what you wanted?

  • Did it work out the way you wanted it to?

  • What did you learn from the experience after you got what you wanted?

  • What would you do differently?

Determination, Desperation, Manifestation

There are two ways to get what you want in life. One is determination and the other is desperation. Both will have an outcome. The outcome is called manifestation. However, one way is God’s way. Which one do you think it is?


Determination is the driving force behind achieving one's goals. Whether it's excelling academically, becoming a successful athlete, or climbing the corporate ladder, determination is pivotal in reaching these aspirations. The significance of determination is to accomplish one's goals, acknowledging that it often involves sacrifices, planning, and the ability to adapt to unforeseen challenges.

Determination is the unwavering commitment and relentless effort to pursue a specific goal. It is the fuel that propels individuals to go above and beyond, pushing their limits and having a mindset for excellence. When you are determined to achieve something, you are willing to invest time, energy, and dedication, even if it means making sacrifices in other areas of your life.

For instance, consider a student aiming to excel academically. They may study late into the night, sacrificing time spent with friends and leisure activities. This sacrifice may seem challenging in the short term, but the determination to achieve good grades keeps them focused on their long-term goal of graduating with honors.

Similarly, an aspiring athlete who dreams of making the team knows that it requires rigorous training and practice. They may put in more effort than their peers, dedicating extra hours to hone their skills. Determining to succeed in sports often means sacrificing social outings and leisure time.

Likewise, in the corporate world, individuals with their sights set on a promotion may invest additional hours at work, foregoing precious family time. Their determination to climb the career ladder drives them to excel in their roles and pursue opportunities for advancement.

While determination is essential, it is not enough on its own. Goals need to be accompanied by careful planning and preparation. Without a roadmap, even the most determined individuals may find it challenging to reach their destination. Measuring the sacrifice is also required so you don’t lose sight of those who love you. There needs to be a balance between success and personal life. If there is not a balance, you may lose both. Let's consider the example of a mission trip to Cambodia undertaken by a group of pastors for a conference.

Example of Pastors on Mission Trip

The pastors' determination to set their minds on this mission was the first step, followed by meticulous planning. They had to address various logistical aspects, including obtaining passports, necessary immunizations, managing finances, booking flights, arranging accommodations, and ensuring smooth travel access. This planning was essential to guarantee a safe and successful mission. Determination accounts for time invested in the planning process.

Despite careful planning, pursuing goals often involves facing unexpected challenges and obstacles. It's crucial to acknowledge that the path to success is rarely smooth. In the case of the mission trip to Cambodia, unforeseen issues may arise, such as flight delays, language barriers, or changes in the local conditions. The end result of the mission trip is to minister to those who are in Cambodia and arrive back home safely.

The ability to adapt and make informed decisions when faced with challenges is vital. This adaptability, often referred to as a "shift" or "pivot," allows individuals to maintain their focus on the ultimate goal while making necessary adjustments along the way. It does not signify veering off course but demonstrates the flexibility and resilience needed to stay on or get back on track.

My Example: Joining the Military.

Joining the military and becoming a Marine wasn't just a decision for me; it was a deeply personal journey that demanded unwavering determination, fierce dedication, and an unshakable sense of purpose. It all began with a vision, a belief that I could see myself proudly wearing the Dress Blues uniform and the title of a United States Marine. It wasn't just about signing up; it was about embarking on a life-altering adventure that would test and shape my character.

Planning this journey was the first step. I had to meticulously prepare, ensuring I met all the eligibility criteria, including education and physical fitness standards. But it was more than checkboxes and requirements; it was about a commitment I was ready to make to protect my country. Once I signed those papers and recited the oath, there was no turning back. My mind was like flint, my determination unwavering. Leaving my family, friends and anything familiar was my sacrifice.

Boot camp marked the true beginning of this transformative journey. Designed to mold civilians into disciplined and physically fit Marines, it was an experience that pushed my limits in every way. From the relentless physical drills to combat and weapons training, it was a test of endurance and resilience. But I knew that this was a path I had chosen, and I was ready to embrace the challenges. I thought, “If they can be a Marine, so can I.” I just need the proper training.

Yet, the road to becoming a Marine was far from smooth. Along the way, I faced my fair share of hurdles. I endured sore muscles, sleepless nights, and, at one point, excruciating pain from six bone fractures in both of my feet. This setback delayed my progress by three months. But I refused to let adversity define my journey. It was not the end of the road. It was just a setback. I learned the difference when I didn’t give up. Instead, while I healed, I continued to push myself, working out as best as I could, studying diligently, and doing everything within my capabilities to stay on course. I never allowed my injury to extinguish my dreams. My determination led me toward the manifestation of my goal.

I realized that my journey didn't end with becoming a Marine; it was just the beginning. My determination had brought me this far, and it wasn't about to stop. I set new goals for success, knowing that failures are part of the process. I didn't blame anyone for my setbacks; instead, I used them as stepping stones for growth. My mom used to say, "If you fail, it's your fault; if you succeed, it's your fault." Her words became my motto, a reminder that my determination was the driving force behind my destiny. Today, I stand proud as a United States Marine and so much more as a testament to the power of determination.

Determination and goal-setting are inseparable components of achievement. When individuals are resolute in pursuing a goal, they are willing to make sacrifices, invest time and effort, and push their boundaries. However, determination alone is not sufficient. Success requires careful planning, preparation, and adapting when facing unforeseen challenges. Planning includes the detours, delays, and downtime. Why? If one doesn’t plan for the detours, delays, and downtime, they will be stuck to making rash, uninformative, and despairing decisions. It is unwise not to have Plans A, B, and C. Plan B doesn’t divert from your goal, so if something happens to Plan A, Plan B is fine-tuning, so the goal you set gets achieved.

Whether excelling in academics, sports, the military, the corporate world, or anything else, the journey toward achieving one's goals is marked by dedication, sacrifice, and a commitment to overcoming obstacles. In the end, it is this unwavering determination that propels individuals toward their dreams and aspirations, making them manifest in success.

Proverbs 15:22 – Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.

Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.


If we lack determination and goal-setting or do not understand that adjustments must be made when things don’t work out how we think they should, we fall into a trap of desperation. So, we start making our own rules and guiding our own lives without godly counsel. We tend to make rash decisions without counting the cost and get further from our goal. We give ourselves excuses to justify our actions. We blame others or aren’t prepared for the dire consequences.

Desperation is a powerful and often overwhelming emotion that can drive individuals to make choices they would not ordinarily consider. While it is a natural response to challenging circumstances, desperation can lead people down a dark path, causing them to sin. With no goal in mind, they wander aimlessly, hopeless, and without direction. They can’t make up their mind. They waver with the wind. They may feel like they are being tossed to and fro. They may feel the world is against them. Why?

Proverbs 29:18, the bible gives us an answer. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Desperation is born out of extreme need, longing, or fear. It occurs when individuals find themselves in situations where they perceive that their well-being, happiness, or survival is at stake. Sometimes, they can look at their own circumstances and not reach out for help, thinking that no one will understand or that others haven’t been through their shoes before. It can manifest in various forms, such as financial desperation, emotional desperation, or desperation for love and acceptance. This causes a person to see their situation with no real solutions. When they internalize the failure or delay, instead of wisely planning a way out, they go to what seems like the best alternative at the time. They are set up for false expectations, high standards, or controlling habits that keep them bound.

Desperation clouds judgment, making unethical actions seem the only way out of a dire situation. As a quick fix and wrong hopes, people may gamble the little money they have to purchase lottery tickets as a false chance to win. People turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their feelings or escape reality. Desiring love and affection outside God’s plan or timing causes individuals to choose infidelity, promiscuity, or homosexuality to avoid loneliness. Though it may feel like a momentary relief, it will quickly spiral into addiction, which will cause more financial, emotional, and relational strain. A person would never have thought their sins would become their destructive lifestyle, life cycle, generational curse, habit of breaking the laws of the land, and God’s commandments, getting further from the truth. What do they gain? Disappointment, despair, and more feelings of defeat.

The manifestation of desperation is heartache, health issues, oppression, poverty, pity, unhappiness, hopelessness, depression, burnout, comparison, impatience, impulsiveness, violence, or self-harm. Can anyone relate to when you made desperate decisions only to find yourself more broke, hurt, and wounded?

What to do when you are going through desperation?

When facing desperate circumstances,

  • Determine that you don’t want to be in your situation anymore. You have a choice.

  • Begin a plan to get out of the rut that caused you to be in your situation. (I don’t know is not the correct answer) You will have to trace back to when the problem started. Be real, and be responsible for your actions and consequences.

  • Get quiet. Pray. Remember the promise of God for your life.

  • Confess your temptation, transgression, sin, lack of wisdom, misunderstandings, self-imposed desires, and ambitions.

  • Repent of anything and everything you know or think that keeps you from success.

  • Don’t dwell. Setbacks are not failures. Delayed opportunity is not hopeless. Financial difficulty is not long-term. Health issues are not death sentences.

  • Get rid of any hindrances you thought needed to “assist” you. People, things, titles.

  • Get back on track.

  • Refocus on your purpose, your goal, your life, your life in Christ.

  • Seek help, counsel, or support.

  • Follow through.

  • Find healthier coping mechanisms to prevent sinful cycles.

  • Stay in fellowship to help you find your way back.

Example of azimuth and compass.

Let’s turn to John 5:1-17 and explore the story of a man who experienced determination and desperation, leading to a miraculous transformation.

The Healing at the Pool

1 Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here, a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked, “Do you want to get well?”

7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

The Authority of the Son

16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense, Jesus told them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”

I. Determination - The Desire to Be Healed:

In John 5:1-17, we encounter a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years. He, along with many others, knew about the pool that was believed to be stirred up by an angel's visitation. The belief was that the first person to enter the pool after the stirring would be miraculously healed. Every year, thousands gathered at this pool, hoping to be the first to reach the water when it stirred. This is what we call determination. They camped out, they waited, and they yearned for healing. But it was not just their desire for healing; it was their determination to be made whole that drove them to that pool year after year. Jesus was determined to heal.

II. Desperation - The Limitations of Resources: Excuses: Set Backs

Within this crowd, the man could have focused on his limited resources. He had no one to help him into the pool when the water stirred. He watched as thirty-eight people were healed before his eyes, knowing that his lack of assistance hindered his chance at healing. When he acknowledged his limitations, his resources fell short, and he became aware of his need for something greater than himself. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed.

III. Manifestation - The Compassion of Jesus:

Amidst this sea of determination and desperation, Jesus arrived. He asked the man a simple yet profound question: "Do you want to be made well?" Jesus knew the answer, but this question required the man to acknowledge his desire for healing. The man didn't need to explain his symptoms or recount his suffering, or make excuses and desperation.

He needed to express his determination to be healed. Jesus brought forth the immediate manifestation of healing. It was the miraculous transformation of the man, who, after thirty-eight years, could finally rise, take up his bed, and walk. He was healed. He got what he wanted. Though it wasn’t without sacrifice, hardship, or setbacks, He was determined to be healed and he was healed.

Ultimately, what matters most is the manifestation of God's power and grace in our lives. When miracles happen, it results from determination converging in a moment of divine intervention. Yet, we must also be aware of the negative forces of desperation that only see limited resources have the “I can’t do it” or “I don’t have anyone to help” mentality that can hinder the manifestation of miracles in our lives.

Let us learn from this story that when the manifestation of miracles occurs, whatever it may look like, we should not deny the power of God moving in someone’s life. Some of us here are free from financial, emotional, relational issues, addictions, or self-sabotage. We don’t know what people are going through. We should rejoice and give glory to God for His wondrous works in us.

We are not all going through hard times simultaneously, but we ALL have gone through hard times. Just as Jesus said to the lame man, "Rise, take up your bed, and walk," let us be open to the unexpected ways God works in our lives to help set the captives free from desperation and give them hope to have the determination to walk and live again.

  • Have you ever wanted something so much that you would do anything?

  • What did you do that was so out of the ordinary to get what you wanted?

  • Did it work out the way you wanted it to?

  • What did you learn from experience after you got what you wanted?

  • What would you do differently?

And if you are not seeing God’s hand in your life, I have to ask:

  • What is keeping you from getting what you want in life?

Let’s go back to John 5:14. Later, Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

Why would Jesus say that? Could it be because the man returned to what was familiar to him? Just something to consider not to go back to the familiar places, familiar ways.

As we draw this message to a close, let us embrace the wisdom of Proverbs, which encourages us to remain steadfast in our pursuit of God's blessings, always open to the wondrous manifestations of His grace. In Proverbs 16:3, we are reminded that when we commit our plans to the Lord, they will succeed, and in Proverbs 3:5-6, we are urged to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, acknowledging Him in all our ways so that He may direct our paths.

Let us pray:

Father, let us find unwavering confidence in the promise in your word that says you desire success, healing, abundance, and unshakable faith from your children. You promise we can plan our way, but You direct our steps. You bless those whose desires align with Your divine will.

May we, as a community, heed the wisdom You give by not leaning on our own understanding but in all of our ways, let our determination line up with you. Let us remain vigilant in recognizing, celebrating, and expressing gratitude for the miraculous transformations that occur when our hearts align with Your divine plan.

In our pursuit, let us adhere to Proverbs 19:21, understanding that many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Let our efforts be focused on discerning Your will, ensuring our plans align with Your purpose to prosper us as we trust You. We will find happiness and blessings.

Let us always remember Proverbs 16:3, knowing that when we commit our work to the Lord, our plans will be established. And take comfort in the words of Philippians 1:6, for He who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it. In the Name of Jesus. Amen!

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