Expectations and Openness
My family and I had one of those awful, no good, very bad weeks recently. It was one of those weeks where everything went wrong, one problem tumbled into another, and tensions ran high. By Wednesday, we were feeling like we were in the middle of an old country song. Everyone in the family was sick, my phone (which I rely on heavily for work) died suddenly, the cat needed to be taken to the vet, my car had been struck in a parking lot, several appliances broke down, and other irritating things had happened. Granted, we still had plenty to be grateful for. We had food, shelter, and our health (mostly), but it was still a rough week. We were all overwhelmed and stressed and very much ready for a break. By Friday, I was putting in one of those emergency red phone prayers – “God, help!” I wasn’t even sure what exactly I wanted to see happen, I just wanted help.
Then, during my private study time, I came across these words from the Psalmist: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5 NIV). With that in mind, I tried to enter a place of calm expectation, waiting for God to do something in my situation, taking both my rest and my hope from God. And God did work in my situation, not by removing my circumstances, but by sustaining me through them. None of my annoying circumstances changed. Everyone was still sick (including the cat), neither the car nor the phone was miraculously healed, our appliances were still quite broken, and other annoying circumstances continued on. What did change was my attitude. I became open to seeing God’s movement in the world and especially in my life, even if it wasn’t what I expected, and these moments sustained me through the frustration and stress.
God moved through a friend sending me a funny picture which made me laugh. God moved through the kindness of a stranger who went above and beyond. God moved through the beauty of the country roads I drove down between pastoral care visits. God moved and gave me peace and faith that things would work out, and we would get through it. God moved by revealing that this world, though broken and often less than it should be, is still beautiful and full of God’s grace and love. No matter what we face, God is still for us, sustaining us, working in our lives.
When we move into a place of expectation and openness – expecting God’s movement but open to whatever form it would take – we may be blessed with experiencing God’s grace in new ways. Because our hope and our rest are in the firmest of all foundations, we, too, became more firm and less easily moved by our circumstances. Rough weeks still come, but God’s mercies are there if we are open to seeing them. From this place, we might even be the one who blesses others who are also having awful, no good, very bad weeks.
- Kate Mauch