It was an ordinary day. I had a 6:15 a.m. flight out of Greenville, SC. After security and on the way to my gate, I stopped by a shop to get a bottle of water. I went to the cashier to pay and it was at that moment that ordinary became extraordinary. I spoke to the cashier – a small woman who was doing all she could to be polite and efficient. I asked her, “How are you today?” There was a pause. She responded, “I’m ok.” “Just ok?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. The next question out of my mouth just came, unintended, bare and raw, waiting to be answered.
“What would it take to make it great?” I asked. Tears welled up in her eyes as she said, “For my daughter to be ok at school.” She began to tell about her special needs child and the very tough season they were having at school. There was no one else in the store, so I asked her if I could pray for her and her daughter. She rushed from behind the counter to take my hand and we prayed. After seeing photos of her daughter, we hugged and I left the store. She was smiling. Her circumstance had not changed, but she had been reminded of hope and the One who is hope in every situation. This only confirmed my theme for the year: expectant.
At the beginning of the year, as I looked at the challenges we face in our country and around the world, I began to think about what would it be like each day to expect God to keep His promises - to always be with us, to give us all we need for life and godliness, to work everything for our good and His glory, to open doors that no one else can open and so much more. As I prayed, I sensed God was saying that I must expect to see Him at work, so “Expectant” became my one-word focus for 2017. I am convinced I would have missed the opportunity of my conversation in the airport store - the opportunity to offer hope and receive the blessing of helping my new friend remember that God had not forgotten her - if I had not begun my day expecting to see where God was at work that morning. So here is my plan to practice being “Expectant” every day. I will begin each day:
By asking, “Father, what do You want to do today through me?
- I thank God for His plan for the day and ask Him to interrupt my plans in favor of His at any point.
- I ask God to open my eyes to His handiwork like the incredible full moon that lit my way to the airport that morning.
- I ask God to open my eyes to see people as He sees them and to help me love them the way He does. (I am not always good at this so I spend extra time on this part of my prayer.)
- I thank Him for the hope and joy of being expectant.
By reminding myself of His promises
- I am reading Scripture each day that remind me of what I know about God and His goodness
- Some of these Scripture promises include:
- “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8
- “His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
By trusting God will do what He said
- Hebrews 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please God…”
- Our God is trustworthy. His Word is true.
- By following His lead
- Scripture says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) The focus is on the action that has been accomplished, not the good intent.
- Our assignments multiply and grow as we are obedient in the small things. This requires sensitivity to His Spirit.
The perspective of expectancy doesn’t rely on what I can do. I expect God to be God. I expect that His grace in me will enable me to offer His grace to others. I expect that God knows my needs. I expect that God is in every moment – whether good or challenging – and I expect that He is all about my good and His glory which changes everything. When fear starts to well up within me, I expect faith to raise up instead. When I find myself in an “Isn’t it awful” conversation, I expect to remember that He is my hope and His joy is my strength.
You and I have an opportunity to see things differently than those who do not follow Jesus. As people who want to lead like Jesus, we see with His eyes the people and circumstances around us. In 1Corinthians 3:3, Paul was speaking to the church at Corinth and said, “You are acting like mere men?” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I behave like I am all on my own. Paul goes on to say in verse 16, that we are God’s temple and His Holy Spirit lives in us. We are no longer just human, we are divine because of His Holy Spirit. We can be expectant not because of who we are and what we do, but because of Jesus.
I am expecting that God will use His followers to represent Jesus to the world by living a Kingdom lifestyle of love and service which turns every ordinary day into extraordinary.
Will you join me in being expectant to see God at work and be willing to participate with Him?
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Written by Phyllis Hennecy Hendry
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