Here are 4 possible reasons it feels like God led you to believe you and someone would be together but then it felt like God changed his mind later on.
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1. God Could Have Allowed This Relationship to Take Place as Loving Discipline, But Since You Repented God Could Have Changed This Relationship in Kindness
When asking the general question, “Does God change his mind?”, in one sense we can answer this with a clear, “No.” Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” God is unchanging, the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17, Malachi 3:6).
With that said, it’s important to highlight the difference between “conditional declarations of God and unconditional determinations of God.”1 The “unconditional determinations” are those things which God will not change because they are connected to his unchanging nature. But throughout Scripture God often declares things that are based upon certain conditions. He says if you do A you will get B, but if you don’t do A you will get C. For example. Jeremiah 18:7-11 states:
If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.”
One example of this can be seen in Jonah when Nineveh repented. Jonah 3:10 states, “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.”
Therefore, when we apply these principles to the question, “Did God change his mind about a relationship you wanted?”, in one sense the answer is no because before you did anything God already knew the future and thus would not promise you something that he did not plan to give you. But in another sense, God may have used a change in a relationship as a means of disciplining you.
For example, God could have taken away a good relationship from you because you would not repent of sin. Or once you did repent, God could have taken you out of a bad relationship he was using to cause you to repent of sin. In other words, it’s possible God actually changed your course away from someone you thought was the one because he was actually using that relationship to discipline you. But since you repented and turned back to God, God rescued you from a bad relationship that would only get worse in time even though you thought this person was the one for you.
So in instances like these it could “feel” like God changed his mind about a relationship, but in reality he really didn’t. He simply used this relationship experience for his greater purpose of lovingly disciplining you.
In God’s sovereignty, he knows how to accomplish his will for you. So ultimately God will never actually change his mind; although he will put you in situations that have good and bad consequences to help shape your character.
2. It Can Feel Like God Changed His Mind About a Relationship Because He Could Have Led You Into This Relationship For a Different Purpose Than You Expected
One really confusing experience many Christian singles go through is that they ask God about entering into a relationship with someone and then they sense that God is saying, “Yes, you should proceed forward with this person.” But then one thing leads to another and eventually it becomes clear that this is not the person God wants you to marry and the two of you part ways.
Why did God lead you into a relationship if he already knew you would not marry this person? It’s very possible you actually did hear God accurately when you asked him about entering into this relationship and then you felt he said yes. But it’s also possible you then assumed you knew why God was telling you to pursue this relationship. It is possible God did lead you into a relationship for a different reason than you marrying this person one day. Here’s a few different motives God could have had:
- God could have led you into this relationship so you would know this is not the person he has for you. Sometimes you will only be able to clearly see God’s “No” once you walk down the road a little bit.
- God could have let you get your hopes up for a relationship he knew would not work out to help you learn to better guard your heart.
- God could have led you to date someone so he could expose certain unhealed wounds he needs to heal first before allowing you to meet the person he does want you to marry.
The possibilities are endless. So it could feel like God changed his mind because you heard him accurately but then assumed too much about the future. God did not change his mind. He just had a different purpose for this relationship than the one you thought he did.
As Isaiah 55:9 states, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
3. It Can Feel Like God Changed His Mind About a Relationship If You Confused Your Own Voice with the Voice of God
Another common reason many people feel like God told them one thing but then something else happened in real life is because it is possible to confuse your own voice with the voice of God.
Sometimes we hear what we want to hear. Even if you were not trying to maliciously deceive yourself, hearing God is something that takes practice and will always be prone to human error. God’s voice is never the issue. Our human ears are where the issue lies.
Even when seeking to interpret Scripture and apply it to our lives, there is a maturing process that will take place over the course of our lives. In humility we need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s correction. Thankfully if we are truly seeking to submit to God and we are being humble towards him, he will correct our errors. God knows how to let us know when we misheard his voice and only actually heard our own voice. James 4:4-6 states:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
I appreciate God’s loving rebuke here followed by his promise of grace to those who are humble. It’s possible to become “friends with the world,” but then God gives you more grace, corrects you, and guides you down a different path because you are then humble enough to follow him again.
If you got your hopes for a relationship God did not tell you to pursue or you started dating someone God did not want you to date, in kindness he will lead you out of this relationship if your heart is humble enough to follow him.
4. You May Have Heard God Accurately, It Might Just Take Longer Than You Expected to See What You Sensed God Said
This is the possibility that happens the least but which people hope for the most. So I would encourage you to not assume that you should just keep waiting to see what you sensed God was saying. If you heard something but then it does not occur in a reasonable timeline, it’s likely you misheard God.
With that said, I don’t think it would be biblically wise to say that this is “always” the case. Sometimes we hear God accurately and sensed his leading accurately about a relationship, but our expectations about the timelines involved were just incorrect.
Sometimes it feels like God changed his mind about a relationship he told you to pursue because you just need to keep waiting and working towards that relationship. If you get ahead of God it will feel like he changed his mind but in reality, he could put you two together but you just need to be more patient. 2 Peter 3:8-9 is referring to judgment, repentance, and salvation, but the principle contained in this passage applies to our topic here. It states:
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness . . . .”
Again, I caution you in assuming this point for sure applies to you. It’s more likely that God is leading you to move on rather than wait for someone if there is clear evidence you should move on. But in rare instances, it’s also possible things will happen between you two – just not right now.
These are complicated subjects, so if you want to study them more deeply with me and the other AGW University students, you may enjoy my relationship training courses. Enrollment for AGW University is now open but it will close next week. To learn more about this unique opportunity, feel free to click here before the deadline passes by.