Don’t you think it’s interesting how life is full of the unexpected? When you get past your middle-age years and have some perspective on time that has passed, several things can be different than what was expected. For instance, when I was younger, I thought I would work a period of time in my career, stay home and raise a family, and either remain a homemaker or go back to work part-time. That’s not what happened. Some of the changed expectations were good, some were challenging, and some were disappointing, but in the end, it has been what God knew was best.
Stop and think for a minute, how you make your own personal decisions. Hour by hour, for the most part, you would probably say you don’t stop to ask God for direction in how your day progresses. It’s good and highly recommended that we begin our day in prayer and remember to ask God for direction. I start my day with prayer, especially glorifying God, asking for a hand of protection upon my family members and their spiritual growth. I have to admit that I don’t ask God to direct my day most of the time. Frankly, I usually already have in mind what I want to accomplish that day which can set me up for failure before I start as I’ve already put expectations on the day and myself. When a bigger decision than a daily schedule comes up, do you call upon your own personal wisdom, ask a family member or friend for help, or do you call on God for direction? Too often, we expect things to go well, even though we haven’t included an all-wise, all-knowing God in our decisions.
So, consequently, it’s no surprise looking back over our lives, whether short or long, that we have made some decisions that didn’t go so well. Yes, we’ve had to learn from our mistakes. We may think we’ve included God in our decisions, but did we really as we re-evaluate the past? Honestly, looking back, my expectations were actually driven by my own personal ideas and desires. I professed to be a Christian, but everything I was planning in my life was leaving God out, for the most part. Oh, I read the Bible some of the time, went to church, some of the time, asked God for help, some of the time, and asked for godly counsel.
Consequently, the young man I became attached to and hoped would sincerely follow through with a Christian commitment did not stay true to his commitment or our marriage. That was the first major expectation of marriage bliss and life planning dashed. Who was to blame? I certainly couldn’t blame God. Even though I put on a good show with a beautiful church wedding and all the perfect plans, it was really all about what I chose and planned. God was set on the sidelines to watch me fail. He was there to pick up the pieces as much as I would let Him. I still didn’t learn but blamed the ex-spouse entirely for the failed marriage that was not right for me in the first place.
Fortunately, God didn’t give up on me, and even though I still ignored Him too much of the time, I prayed for a good husband and Christian marriage. I had a hope and expectation that He would bring this to pass. There isn’t anything wrong with having hope and expectations of good things happening for you. God loves us and does want what is best for us. In less than a year, He answered my prayer and met my expectation for a good man with whom we could build a good life and Christian marriage.
As human expectations go, you would think we lived happily ever after, built a big, beautiful family, and life meeting all our expectations. Not exactly. If you’ve lived very long, you know that life has twists and turns. God has a plan for growth in our relationship with Him and our spiritual discernment of what life is truly all about with an eye toward eternity with Him. We found a church home, built our first new home, had good jobs, and thought we were really on track with God and our lives. However, after three years of marriage, we decided it was time to start a family. However, after a year of trying, it became clear that our expectations were not exactly working out as we planned. After six years of marriage, it was obvious that our expectations were not at all as “we” expected. We prayed, were prayed for, and went through numerous tests, but still no positive results.
Have you ever been in a situation when what you least expected happened? Chances are, you know what I’m talking about. You know “Plan A” is not working out so well, and you are not so sure there is a “Plan B.” God did give us a “Plan B,” which was to begin seeking a “baby” to adopt. We researched adoption agencies and spread the word. Our Pastor had a family connection to a two-year-old girl, not a baby, to our surprise expectation. This was not our expectation, but we believe it was how God was going to give us a family.
Looking back, God did meet our expectations. We never did have a biological child, but God gave us a family, a daughter, and now five grandchildren. We have seen God’s hand from the beginning and throughout, and we believe He has used the family He created and will continue to use it not only for our growth but for the spiritual growth of all those family members involved. He is writing a story for which only He knows the end. It was and is not what we expected, but it was not for us to decide. Only He knows what is right for us.
If you are in a situation where it is difficult to see the hand of God, and it is not what you expected, pray and ask God to show you how He is writing your story. It is not going to be what you expect. It may not be easy at times and require faith and endurance. Put your trust in His plan, and do not be determined to have what you want and expect. Only His plan for you will be satisfying and give you the peace and happiness you seek. Trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6). The result will be more than you expected.