“Wait expectantly for the unexpected.”
Every year on my birthday I ask God for a word for the next year. My birthday is in October, so my word always carries into 2019 with me. This year He gave me the word ‘expectant’. Right after I received the word expectant, I found myself at a point in my mission work with the Dominican Republic where I didn’t really know what was next. I went on my last trip to the D.R. that same month, but it was what was to come after that came with a lot of unknowns. I was praying for what was next, but I wasn’t sure where God was leading. Just when I thought I knew what God was doing, everything took a turn into the complete unknown.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you finally have God’s plans all figured out when all of a sudden God’s like . . . ”syc”! I feel like He sometimes has a sense of humor like that. I can’t help but laugh at myself because why would I think that I could figure out what God is doing? He’s so much bigger than what my earthly mind could ever conceive!
Going into 2019, God was speaking to me. “Wait expectantly for the unexpected.” Ok, God, but what does that even look like? How do I wait expectantly?
I felt that at that moment I had two choices. I was clearly in a waiting season and my choices were right in front of me. I could either:
- Wait with complacency
- Wait with expectancy
To wait with complacency would be to wait while being overly content with where God had me. When we are complacent, we are not actively engaged in the work God is doing. We are not waiting well. We succumb to the lie that “this must be it”, that, “I’m comfortable in this place, I don’t expect more”, or that “God has nothing else planned for me” and as a result we stay in that place. How many of you have heard the saying that growth doesn’t come from comfort zones? It’s so true! Those are lies. Lies that a real enemy wants you believe. When we wait with complacency, we are not actively growing.
To wait with expectancy would be to wait well. To be expectant means to wait excitedly for something. To wait excitedly, knowing and having faith that even though I can’t see God moving, I know he is.
Even though I don’t know what is next, and I can’t see what His plans for me are, I am going to trust and wait expectantly knowing that God is up to something. Why? Because we are His children!
Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do abundantly more than anything we can even think or imagine. The truth is that God is a God of abundance, and an abundance is what He has for us, so why don’t we wait like it?!
So, with these two choices in front of me, I decided to choose to wait expectantly. Was it easy? Absolutely not. There were times in the past four months that I wanted to give up and believe the lie that just because God wasn’t speaking to me about what was next, that there was nothing else He had planned for me. But I KNEW, I knew I could trust God at his word, that there was more. That He was working. So I entered into 2019, and began a 30day fast. And let me tell you friends – that entire 30 days that I was fasting, I heard God speak about everything I was praying for. . . except for missions. Even during fasting, God did not reveal to me what was next or even if there was going to be a next.
Instead of getting discouraged, I let this push me deeper into trusting God, His plan, and His timing. I ended the fast still waiting expectantly, and my heart was that I wanted to be faithful in the waiting. I wanted to be a good steward of the dreams He had placed in my heart, but completely dependent on His plans and His timing. That place of complete surrender is such a sweet place to be with our Father.
If you are in a place of waiting, a place of trusting, know that there is purpose in the wait. There is a work God wants to do in you. Let me encourage you to wait well. Don’t think the purpose of this season is to passively sit around to see what is next. Ask God what your part is in the wait. What are the steps right in front of you that He wants you to take? What is He teaching you? I promise it is something.
For me, I learned to trust beyond what I could see. To have full faith in His plans for me. (Jeremiah 29:11) I learned to find comfort in the promise that He is all-knowing and that I am not. He can see things that I can’t, that even when I couldn’t hear Him speaking, I could trust that He was moving. And I was reminded of His faithfulness. That I can place my expectations on Him because He is never going to let me down.
In the end, a week after my fast ended, I got two e-mails, both on the same day (in totally God fashion). One inviting me on a medical missions trip to Zambia, Africa. And the other was an invitation to go back to the Dominican Republic in a little over a month. God showed up in the unexpected. He showed up in a way that I could not of dreamed up, on my own. He completely surprised me and reminded how much better His plans are than mine!
And guess what? He wants to show up for you too. So trust Him and wait expectantly for Him to do the unexpected in your life!