Monday, January 24, 2005

Wrong Expectations

I do believe that God speaks to us today. However, that doesn't mean that we always understand what He's saying. At least I don't. So many times I have this preconceived notion of what I think is the "right" answer, which often turns out to be way off base. God is unchanging, but that does not mean that He is always predictable.

Think about a sunset. The sun sets every evening, but not always at the same time. And not always the same color. Some nights the sunset is a brilliant golden-orange; other nights it takes on a soft purplish hue. Each sunset is a marvelous masterpiece worthy of hanging in a musuem if there were a museum big enough to capture it. And the view of the sunset that we have is different than what people in China, or Russia, or South Africa have. Yet it's the same sun setting every night.

Likewise, I expect God to answer when I call out to Him, but He may not answer the same way every time. Usually I'm looking for the instant pizza-delivery answer (30 minutes or less, guaranteed). And sometimes God does answer that quickly. But many more times, for various reasons, He causes me to wait. Some answers I've waited months and even years to receive (and still waiting). And so often the answers that I do get are quite unexpected.

Last night at church, we had a women's class in which several women shared their testimonies of how God had worked in their lives. As I sat there listening to these tough and wonderful stories, I longed to be able to be used by God to encourage other people. By the time I got home, I was in somewhat of a funk and feeling rather useless.

Later in the evening, a friend called unexpectedly to share a prayer request. It didn't occur to me til this morning that God was directly answering my prayer to be used by Him. While I envisioned being able to encourage a large group of people, as those ladies did last night, God was wanting me to help one person. Because it wasn't the answer I was expecting, I could have easily missed out on the blessing. Thank God that He revealed it to me so that I could share in the joy of being used by Him.

I'm learning to not put God into a box when it comes to expecting answers from Him.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9

No comments: