Lay Down Your Expectations

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us.” – Exodus 32:1

400 years. That’s how long the Israelites waited for God to deliver them from slavery. But after they left Egypt, God didn’t take them directly to Canaan. Instead, they camped at the base of a mountain while God instructed Moses. 

But after 40 days, the Israelites grew frustrated. Their delayed expectations led to poor decisions: they rejected God and pursued whatever pleased them. 

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by an uncertain season that lasts longer than you anticipated, you’re not alone. We can become so focused on our disappointments that we forget God is still in control. That’s why it’s important to remember that your waiting is never wasted.

Even though the Israelites couldn’t see it at the time, God wasn’t withholding His promises from them—He was preparing them for it.

So, if you find yourself weary from waiting, do what the Israelites forgot to do: look for evidence of God’s presence, and look back on what He’s already done. God’s timeline may be different than yours, but His faithfulness doesn’t waver. Your waiting might be preparing you for the plans and purposes God has for you. 

The more we trust God, the more freedom we will experience in our lives.

Saul becomes increasingly desperate to get rid of David. He is watching this young man succeed in everything he does and it terrifies him. However, an opportunity arises.

Saul’s daughter Michal loves David. And it’s clear that David has feelings for her as well. Saul plans to use David’s feelings against him and kill him in the process.

In this ancient context there was a bride-price associated with marriage. This was a sort of fee the man would pay to the woman’s family in order to marry her, like a reverse dowry. Furthermore, the price was usually set by the status of the woman’s family. This is why David feels Michal is out of reach for him since he is “only a poor man and little known.”

This is where Saul originates his plan. Instead of a monetary gift, he asks David to kill one hundred Philistines for him. To a normal man, this would have certainly meant death. But the Lord was with David, and he didn’t only fulfill Saul’s tall order – he doubled it, killing two hundred Philistines!

Saul saw David’s victory and gave Michal to him as promised. The opportunity he thought would solve his problem only worked to add to his fears.

As servants of God we are undoubtedly going to face trials. People are going to want to watch us fall and cause us to get angry at God on the way down. However, we serve the same God as David.

I can’t tell you that you will be protected from everything because life doesn’t work like that (and growth does not come that way). What I can do is encourage you to live like David.

David set out against the Philistines without an ounce of doubt that he would be successful. It never crossed his mind that if God told him to do something, it might not be possible. How incredible could our journeys be if we believe in the same way?

What if we took God at His word and acted before we had all the details or covered all the bases? What would our lives look like if they were completely directed by the grace and power of God?

Trust God’s Promises

I can honestly say that one of the hardest things to learn in life is to trust. I would even dare to say that the more we know people, the more we tend not to trust. However, if we were to analyze the core of the problem, it does not have to do with the act of trusting in itself. The real issue has to do with the one in whom confidence is placed. When we trust, we rely on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. 

Trusting requires only one action: to stand still and do nothing but wait for the one in whom we placed our confidence to operate. It is so simple and yet so difficult! The only thing we have to do is wait and allow the person we have trusted to do what they have said they will do, but our instinct is to try to take the matter into our own hands. Nevertheless, when we are facing battles we know that we do not have the power to do what is needed. The only thing we can do is to trust and wait for the One who does have the strength required, to step in and perform.

The amazing story we have been focusing on in these few days shows us a crucial lesson we must learn. God told Joshua not to be afraid because not one of them (the enemies) were going to be able to withstand him (Joshua). God made a promise, and Joshua believed and trusted in God’s Word. The result: the Lord fought for Israel! Joshua did not have the ability nor the strength to win this battle. The first and only thing Joshua could do was to trust God. God does not forsake those who seek Him.

In the Bible, we have thousands of promises that we can grasp. When the enemy surrounds your life, threatens to destroy you, and you cannot act, the first thing that you should do is set your mind on God’s promises! Trust in God’s power to deliver you from evil. It is your choice whether to focus on your ability or on God’s. All of life is a chance to learn to trust Him more, to get to know Him, to really know Him.

All of life is a chance to trust Him more. Trust in His promises, in His ability, strength, power, and character. God does not forsake those who seek Him.

Cathey Lynn

Expectations

What do you expect to happen when you pray? Do you expect God to answer? Do you expect to get exactly what you asked for? Or if you’re brutally honest, do you expect nothing much to happen? Do you approach prayer more like a wishing well—it’d be cool if you got your wish, but you know you probably just wasted a penny? 

I think this is an unfortunate trap we can fall into when it comes to prayer. If you go through a rough season, or a prayer that didn’t go your way, or maybe you’ve been trying to hear from God for a while, and He just doesn’t seem to be answering, it can sometimes shake our expectations of what God might do. But, God is always working in our lives, always answering prayer—even if it’s not in the way or the timing we would like. He is alive and active in our lives. We just need to re-frame what we expect God to do.

If I can be really transparent with you, I fall into seasons where I stop seeing God at work in my life. It feels like He’s not hearing me. It seems like all my prayers come back with a big “no”—or at least a “not right now”. It gets discouraging, but eventually I snap out of it and start praying, “God, show me what You’re doing in my life right now.” I’ll then commit to writing down everything I see God doing—every time I notice Him at work in my life. Instantly, these lists fill up. I find myself filling pages of a journal with lots of little things—and sometimes big things—that I see God doing. 

Did God suddenly kick His activity into high gear because I prayed? No. He’s been working like this the whole time. The problem was me and my expectations. I either expected Him to do exactly what I asked for in the exact timing I wanted it, or I let my faith get shaky, and I honestly didn’t expect Him to do anything. Both responses are a mistake. If you expect God to work in your life you will absolutely see Him working in your life. You just have to keep in mind that He is God and you are not. His actions may not be what you would have wished for, but they will always be with your best interests in mind. 

Write down everything you see God doing or hear Him speaking to you. I’m confident you’ll have more written in just a few days than you ever thought possible.