maybe they create for you this feeling like something is about to happen - something incredible, something amazing. it's just around the corner, over there, and you can hardly wait to see what it is...
i've been thinking a lot about expectations this week, as i've watched a lot of mine fall flat. i had a plan for this week - and it involved getting a lot of stuff done that i haven't gotten done that i've wanted to get done for awhile. and the only thing i can check off my list is that i moved a lot of stuff out of my room in anticipation of finishing that painting project i began a couple of months ago - and it's now sitting in the hallway, and if i don't paint today or tomorrow, i'm going to have to move it all back in without painting.
there was this one thing that had to get done this week - and it will get done - but i underestimated how much time it was going to take. by a lot. and as day after day passed by this week, and it became more and more evident what a project this one task was going to be, i watched my dreams of getting "so much done" fall, one dream at a time. and i wrestled with so much disappointment. i mean, it was depressing really, to have this amazing expectation of all that i was going to accomplish come face-to-face with the reality that most of it wasn't going to happen at all.
and i almost missed what God is doing in the middle of it. teaching me patience. showing me the weight of the expectations i put on myself that aren't necessarily His. reminding me that while having goals and plans and agendas and whatnot can be a wise way to live, that only the plans of the Lord succeed, and i would be wise to ask Him about them before i try to live them out.
i was up at 4:30am today. no idea why. i'm tired. but i am so much more at rest internally than i have been for most of this week. i spent some time on the front porch swing with my Bible and a cup of coffee, and i could hear His call to come and rest.
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." (Isaiah 55:1-2)
"Is it because there is no God in Israel?" (2 Kings 1)
It's quite the story, 2 Kings 1 - one of those stories that makes it impossible for me to understand how anyone could think the Bible is boring. I mean, have you read it? If this was a movie, it would be an incredible scene. I've linked to the whole story above, and would encourage you to read it, as I am about to leave out a lot of detail. But the short version is this: King Ahaziah's fallen thru a lattice and broken his leg, and he thinks it's a good idea to send off to some other country's god to see if he'll survive it. Probably not the smartest thing the guy ever did. So God sends Elijah to meet the messengers, and Elijah says something to the effect of, "Is it because there is no God in Israel that you're doing this?" Seriously, people... And the messengers go back and tell the king, and the king sends for Elijah, and Elijah reiterates the message to his face.
I can't take credit for these insights - I heard a sermon Tim Brown preached on this years ago, and it's stuck with me - but they came home this morning as I read the story. Typically in the Bible, when something shows up three times in succession it's kind of a flag to say, "hey, pay attention, this is important!" So here it is three times in one chapter: "Is it because there is no God in Israel...?" And in the NKJV, there's a slight variation on the third question: in verse 16, Elijah asks the king, "Is it because there is no God in Israel, to inquire of His word?"
And that, Tim said, is what the story is trying to teach us. That when we have something for which we want an answer, we are to inquire of His Word. Which for us, I think, means both reading His written Word and inquiring of the Living Word, Jesus, as well. I hadn't done that about my plans for this week. And how dangerously close I come some days to not doing that about my plans for my life. I settle in, expecting things to go according to my expectations, and when they aren't met, I am disappointed. How much better could this go if I really sought the Lord and inquired of His Word?
And so I turn and repent of not having asked, and thank Him for the lesson, and His patience in teaching it. And I begin this day anew with these words, prayed by the saints for ages past:
"In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation." (Psalm 5:3) I wait in expectation for what You have to say about this day and all it will hold.
And while I may not listen perfectly, I will be trying to listen. And the hope and anticipation for what might come of living this day His way rather than according to my plans fills my soul, and I can almost see it - just over there, around that corner - there is something incredibly good. I can hardly wait to see what it is...