Friday, January 11, 2013

Great Expectations

"Expectations ruin relationships."

A few days ago I was having a conversation with my mother in law about the above quote. We talked about how when we expect people to act a certain way and then they act contrary to our expectation we end up disappointed and discouraged. In the past few days I have been reminded (or rather convicted) of this truth in my relationship to God and his sovereignty. 

When I was told that my due date was January 10th, 2013, I expected to have a baby by then. I thought that my water would break in the morning, I'd be able to shower, labor at home, then go to the hospital for an hour or so of pushing and then I'd be holding our son, all by 5pm! However, January 10th has come and gone, and I am still not holding this baby. In the past 24 hours I have had many thoughts of frustration and confusion. In my frustration today I have asked God many 'why' questions. As I was discussing my confusion with Chance this morning, I asked him, "Why didn't God answer my prayer that my water would break this morning?" I have wondered why first babies usually come late, why there are due dates at all, and why God has not yet answered my prayers that I would go into labor. And yet, as the minutes and hours pass and still I am without this baby in my arms (although he is still fluttering around in my stomach) I have been brought back to a simple truth that reflects the quote above: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8) I have been expecting that God would conform to my plans. One of my favorite preachers, John Piper, often says that God is doing a thousand things when he is doing one thing. I believe that Piper is referring to the thousands of things that God is doing that we simply cannot see, while we tend to focus on the one thing that God is doing that we can see. The Proverbs talk about the plans of man and the ways of the Lord, and how the two things are many times at odds. We expect that God will do exactly what we want, when we want, but that is taking God off the throne. It is interesting how we do take comfort in the fact that God is in control, but when our plans are distorted we rebel against the same comforting truth. I am not saying that it is easy to always believe, but thankfully the Word of God reminds us over and over again, lest we forget. 

Psalm 145:17 says, "The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works." As I write this, I am staring at that verse on a plaque that sits on my desk. Do I really believe that God is kind in all his works? Perhaps intellectually, but not always practically. When I allow emotions to dictate my reaction to circumstances, my natural impulse is to become self-pitying and doubt God's kindness and care of me. However, when I let the Word of God penetrate my mind and heart, I find rest even if I do not have all of the answers. Moreover, as I play this waiting game and try to focus on what is true, my soul counsels me to think of the circumstances in which God has chosen to remind me of his sovereignty and kindness. I am having a baby! What a blessing it is to know that on this occasion what I am expecting is imminent. Hudson will be born. If I do not grasp the truth of God's ways being higher than my ways in this situation, I fear how I will respond when the circumstances are not so hopeful. May God use this short period of waiting to teach me to trust him at all times, to have faith in his ways rather than trusting in my own, and to place my expectations in his promises. 

For all of you who have had to wait on the Lord's timing, whether it has been in the birth of a child or in the job hunting process, know that the Lord's way are higher than our ways, that he is a good and kind God, that he causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose, and that he is always doing a thousand unseen things in the one thing you can see.

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