We all have that list. For some, it’s kept as a mental catalogue, for others it’s a bucket list of sorts, or even a trendy “24 by 25” type of thing. For many, it’s held in the deep crevices of our heart, the place where very few are invited.
We fill these lists with risk-taking, once in a lifetime experiences, and grand expectations for our lives. We are meant to be dreamers, to go after big things, to discover desires within ourselves that only our Creator knows.
This past Sunday, I sat at church listening to one of my most favorite pastors. We went through the story of Mary and Joseph, from the very shocking realization of a miracle child up to the long, grueling travelling. We all know the story, we all know the three-point sermon that can be made… but this weekend, we talked about God’s will and plan; that most often, God’s plan is drastically different than our plan. That was when I heard this… “God always seems to fall short of our own expectations, but never ceases to radically exceed them…”
Insert jaw-dropped, blue-faced emoji here. I sat there and looked around, wondering if anyone else was just hit by the bus that just slammed into our sanctuary…
“God always seems to fall short of our own expectations, but never ceases to radically exceed them…”
Conviction set in HARD. I instantly thought of my expectations for my life, that list that I keep, the one that has all the risks and desires, that one that is kept within the deep places of my heart and is shared with a small community of people. God, even this past week, does seem to have fallen short of my expectations. There are some things where I sit there so frustrated and disappointed, wondering why some of my greatest desires and expectations haven’t been met, after all, I don’t ask very much, RIGHT? It is very easy to ask why, but never easy to understand the answer.
As if a whole sermon wasn’t enough, this morning I sat at a coffee shop a town over, messy hair and a messy, no make-up face, and read my morning devotion, which coincidentally enough, was all about submission and obedience. Not within marriage, but within our relationship with God…
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake…”
- 1 Peter 2: 13
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always
obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your salvation
with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at
work in you, both to will and to work
for His good pleasure…”
- Philippians 2: 12-13
Submission, yielding ourselves to God, is the highest calling of obedience; this is how we work out our salvation with fear and trembling… There is a fear that my expectations for my life won’t come to fruition, I am sure that many will be left in the dust, but I do know truth, that somehow, through my obedience, He will radically exceed any desire or expectation my heart creates.
I listed every thing and area of my life that I need to present in submission to God… that was not easy. It was not easy to expose my pride and sin before the throne. My list of expectations revealed not just the desires of my heart, but the distrust of my heart. Would I really not choose to trust God to grant me these things, or something better?_________________________________________________________________________________
"My list of expectations revealed not just the
desires of my heart, but the distrust of my heart."
Friends, what does submission in your life look like today? Is it trusting God to provide funds for you to move overseas? To continue praying for your family members who do not yet know Christ? To submit to a new authority figure placed above you? To trust God to fill your desire for a family? Do you trust Him to radically exceed the desires of your heart?
Let us cling to truth even in the midst of disappointment, that He is working all things for His good, and will radically exceed.