It’s not what you think. Funny how that phrase, “I’m expecting” has become synonymous with “I’m pregnant”. But expectations are funny that way. We often expect things that don’t happen and we don’t expect things that do. And of course, many times we expect things to happen and, lo and behold, they do! But are we expecting the right things? Are we expecting too much? Are we not expecting enough?
Recently my husband and I were vacationing in the Bahamas. We had returned to a place we had been before, so for the most part, we knew what to expect. We knew the food would be good, the people would be nice, the accommodations would be luxurious and the weather would be mostly sunny! And it all was!
But one thing we did differently was a side trip to a remote island we didn’t know much about. We were simply told to be outside the gate of our resort by 8 AM and bring nothing more than a backpack for the 3 day trip. Ummm, ok….so no curling iron and no hair dryer, I can do this! There was a van waiting for us outside the gate. We made a few stops at other resorts and then made our way to the marina to board the boat that would take us to the island. After about 20 minutes of speeding along the turquoise water of the Bahamas, the boat suddenly came to a stop and we saw the most amazing white sandbar in the middle of nowhere. I wasn’t expecting that! It was stunningly beautiful! It seemed to stretch on forever and there was no one there, just beautiful white sand and clear water. Several photos later, we got back in the boat and traveled on for another 30 minutes before pulling up to a boat dock where only my husband and I got out. The rest of the people were continuing on a tour. It felt a little strange seeing that boat drop us off and quickly speed away, but at the end of the dock was a quaint little “yacht club” with bungalows scattered along the rocky cliffs above the water. We checked in and found our little bungalow that came with it’s own boat….we weren’t expecting that! It was so peaceful looking out at the water and seeing beautiful yachts pass by on their way to other islands.
The next day, we ventured out in our little boat to explore. A few places we were told to go included another island with native swimming pigs (a must see) and a grotto for snorkeling. Off we went and upon nearing the pig island, we were met by the biggest pigs with the biggest teeth I had ever seen! They were HUGE and they were HUNGRY! Thank goodness we had some apples because the biggest pig of all decided to try boating with us. One apple chucked in his mouth and he backed off. That was definitely not on our expectations list. On to the grotto, Thunderball Grotto. I can’t even describe the grotto to its full glory. It just looked like a big ugly rock jutting out of the water with a small opening. With my GoPro camera ready, we swam through the opening and were amazed. The cave inside was breathtaking! There was an opening at the top about 30 feet above the water allowing the sun’s rays to bounce off the water and dance on the rock walls. Beneath the surface of the water were beautifully colored fish of all shapes and sizes. I was stunned! I was most certainly not expecting that!
All this expecting and not expecting got me thinking about how many times I have found God in the unexpected and how He has met me in the expected. Our trip was certainly made up of wonderful experiences that we weren’t expecting, but in life, we often experience the unexpected and it’s not so wonderful. But God wants us to expect great things, doesn’t He? I have often heard people say, “Don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed”, but isn’t that a “glass half empty” attitude? There’s a famous quote by William Carey, a Protestant missionary in the 19th century that said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God”. Carey began his life as a shoemaker and while reading theology books and the writings of Captain Cook’s travels, he recognized the need for people around the globe to know about Christ. He traveled to India where he lived for 40 years translating the bible into six different dialects of the Indian language. He expected great things from God and he attempted great things for God!
I know God can do great things, but do I expect Him to? Do I ask Him to? “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us” (Eph 3:20). Paul is saying that God can do so much more than we ask or can even imagine! So why are we surprised when God grants us that peace we long for or provides protection from that thing we are fearful of? We should expect that God will do great things! We may not always see it clearly or understand the master plan, but we can know with the greatest of confidence that God will do great things.
So I’m expecting……I’m expecting God to take my life and show me His greatness! I want to see it all! And just like that grotto, I know that there are times God will take me through the ugliness first so that I can be amazed at the beauty on the other side. But if I can face that ugliness with the assurance and the expectation that God will show me His greatness, then my glass is never half empty…..it overflows. So I’m expecting…..and I can’t wait to see what happens next.