I was once described as “unflappable.”
Unflappable! Are you kidding? Not even close.
Rev says I am, “Eight years ago when you sat in the Cardiac surgery waiting room not knowing whether I would live or die, you were unflappable.”
“Maybe. But two years earlier I was undone. Broken.“
Then Rev reminds me, “It’s when we are undone that God is able to do His greatest work in us.“
And He’s right.
[Tweet “Any strength I have is God’s doing. He used my undoing to begin a huge work in my life.”]
Prior to that, I believed:
- If I do A, God will do B.
- If I pray enough God will comply with my requests.
- God cares about my happiness and comfort, and as long as I am doing my best He will see to it that my life goes well.
- I want God to be __________, so He is ___________.
All were expectations I placed on God.
Expectations that molded God into who I thought He should be to fit my needs and limited understanding. Not truth. Not who God is, but my idea of who God is.
Then I was undone. I was broken.
I did A and B didn’t happen.
I prayed and prayed and prayed without the desired outcome.
My life was definitely not going well and I had no answers.
So, I surrendered. I put down my expectations and asked God to teach me. I grabbed my Bible and read it like a novel—Genesis to Revelation. Every free moment spent in His Word and prayer.
And slowly God pieced me back together, and as the pieces were put back in place they had a strength I never thought possible.
An Anniversary of Life
Yesterday, Rev and I celebrated 8 years since his heart surgery. For those of you who’ve heard this before, you can skip the next section. If this is new to you…
September 20, 2007, Rev had something called a pericardial stripping. 18 months earlier he had a terrible virus we later learned attacked the lining of his heart. It took them almost a year to diagnose constrictive pericarditis and over the next several months, doctors concluded he would not survive without surgery to peel the hard coconut like shell off his heart.
We knew the mortality and morbidity rates for this surgery were very high, giving him a one in three possibility of restored health. As I left pre-op we both understood there was a very real possibility we were saying goodbye for this life. We learned a week later that his surgeon’s nurse practitioner had advised against surgery following his pre-op tests. His surgeon said, “It was then or not at all.”
By God’s grace, we were blessed with a miracle and so we’re counting bonus days. Today is 2,923.
I still have expectations of God, but they’re different now. They’re not determined by who I think He is but based on who He says He is.
God is the same today, tomorrow and forever!
Expectations of who He says He is…
Love – God is love. 1 John 4:16
Merciful – For the Lord your God is a merciful God. Deuteronomy 4:31
Safety and Strength – God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1
Gracious – Greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness. Romans 5:15
Kind – How kind the Lord is! How good He is! So merciful, this God of ours! Psalm 116:5
Truth – Every word of God proves true. Proverbs 30:5
Indescribable – “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine..” Isaiah 55:8
Changeless – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
To know Jesus is to know God – No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. John 1:18
The truth – expectations based on who God says He is are better than anything I could imagine on my own.
So now my expectations about God are – He is love even when I don’t deserve it, grace and mercy not because of who I am but because of who He is, strength when I am weak, peace in life’s storms, and truth to guide me.
God healed my broken places and changed my expectations.
He has not chosen to heal our broken circumstances yet. I continue to pray with hope trusting He will do what He knows is best . . . and I will praise and glorify Him for who He is.
By His grace, He has shown Himself to me in and through my broken places.
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