We all can think back to a time when we expected that something would go differently. Even things we have prayed for did not turn out the way that we had imagined in our minds. When I was a teenager, one of the hardest periods of my life was when the healing I expected for my Grandfather did not come. Sometimes God has another plan—a better plan. We cannot always understand it. We cannot necessarily predict it. Honestly speaking, there are moments when we don’t always like it either because we cannot see the bigger picture.
Naaman had leprosy. He expected that Elisha would come out to him and wave his hands over the leprosy and call on the name of God to heal him. Naaman expected to stand there and watch Elisha summon the Lord for healing. Instead, Elisha gives him directions via a messenger. He was to wash in the Jordan seven times—the Jordan River, not even the most likely body of water for healing in Naaman’s eyes. Naaman became angry, so angry that he stalked away.
There are moments when we get angry. We expected something to turn out differently. We followed the path God directed us to take but it is not like we expected. There’s suffering. There’s hardship. There’s challenges. There’s mountains to climb. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It takes work. This is not what we expected. Today, don’t let your expectations cloud you from your focus on God who has something for you that is beyond your expectation. When something doesn’t go the way you expected, trust that He has a better plan.
“But Naaman became angry and stalked away. ‘I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!”’he said. ‘I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me!’” – 2 Kings 5:11 [NLT]
In Judges 7, the Israelites were battling the Midianites. If you read closely, you will note a few things. “Each man stood at his position and watched” – no one was moving forward. Everyone was watching and ready for the Lord’s instruction. They then blew their horns as the Lord had instructed and the Lord brought victory without them going forward into battle.
We are told to be prepared. We are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24). We are to be prepared to give an answer to others (1 Peter 3). We are to be prepared. In Judges 7, the Israelites were dressed for battle. They were ready to fight. But something happened so the fight wasn’t like what one would expect. The Lord acted in such a way that they simply needed to be prepared and blow the horns.
Be prepared. Understand that there will be times when you will need to do more work than others. There are moments when God wants you to do the work and there are times when He wants you prepared to watch Him work a miracle or do a great work. So keep watching and keep yourself prepared. Expect God to move. You may be amazed by what you see.
“Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.” – Judges 7:21-22 [NLT]
Today when I was walking my dog, he was charged by another dog. I was prepared for the situation; however, because the same dog owner allowed this to happen weeks ago. Last time, he had let his Golden Retriever run loose and the dog came and snapped at my dog. This time, he left his German Shepherd loose, and although there was no snapping, I was not a happy camper at the second episode of negligence.
In life we will meet a person who will do something that irritates us, that hurts us or something that is wrong. We will throw our hands in the air (or sometimes our fists) and demand change. We will get angry. We will say words (sometimes words that are not positive, life speaking words). We will be frustrated by these people who do not do what we want them to do; however, we cannot expect them to change and act as we wish. Nor can we expect someone to follow the commands of God.
I was mad at this man today. He has proven twice that he cannot handle his dogs. The first time I was upset. I was injured. My dog was frightened. It was not a good situation. This second time, though prepared for it, was just as bad. Even so, some people will not change. We can only control our reactions to a situation—not someone else. It is how you react to any given situation that says something about you. I know I do not always react as I should, but I also know that over the years, the Holy Spirit has helped me to react better to each given situation. Don’t let situations and circumstances control you. React with love.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 [NLT]
I love taking my dog for a walk. It’s great exercise for the both of us, and it gives me a chance to take a break from everything. Yesterday I invited my children to partake in the adventure. They were having fun racing each other to the next tree and playing games along the way. I started to notice that the peacefulness of my walk was absent. Then something else happened. I had a misstep and ended up having a fall.
It seemed as if I was trying my hardest to hit every body part possible as I landed. The worst of the contact was made when my knee hit the ground. Instant bleeding and swelling. The children were asking if I had a first aid kit stowed away in my pockets; I was wondering how I was going to get back home. It was a slow walk back.
Still this morning I am in a lot of pain and finding it difficult to move my knee much. Walking has become a chore. I realized through this all, how lucky I am to be able to walk. I have my limbs. I have a nice, safe area to walk. I have the time to walk. I have sneakers to use to walk comfortably. I have healthy enough to walk. These are things I don’t think about very often. In overlooking them, I neglect to give proper thanks to Him who provided all things.
We all get busy and we do not look at the things we take for granted. We expect them to be there, because they always are there. We do not consider how life would be if they were not there, because that surely would never happen. Today, as we give thanks to our Lord who showers us with blessings, may we be able to see what we have overlooked. May we thank Him for the big things and the little things, the provisions He alone provides.
“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness,
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.”
– Psalm 100 [NASB]