This time last year I heard a sermon called “This Time Next Year” and my pastor (at that time) preached many things. I have to say they were true for me. They just didn’t look the way I expected them to. I did not expect to quit my job six weeks later with no safety net. I did not expect to give back my financed cars. I didn’t expect to move churches – twice in less than a year. I didn’t expect the upheaval, the disappointment, the stress. I didn’t expect two sick parents at the same time – and my inability to deal with it emotionally or mentally. Didn’t expect none ‘o it.
I also didn’t expect the sheer amount of joy I’ve experienced in being a stay at home mom, part time. I didn’t expect Kid 4 to call me one midnight in May – and I certainly didn’t to have him on my couch for going on six months. I didn’t expect him to come back with a greater knowledge and respect for God than he ever had before, let alone a re dedication of his life to Christ, and baptism. I didn’t expect anyone to give us anything including the car we drive or to pay our rent, utilities, medical expenses for us. I certainly did not expect to be financially drained but still be used as a conduit for miracles. Didn’t expect none o’ that.
Although these are highs and lows, the greatest surprise of all was meeting Jesus after having walked with Him in varying degrees for 20+ years. I didn’t expect Him to give me the compassion I asked for, to heal me of years of trauma, to teach me His ways at this level. To restore hope to the dark, hidden areas of my heart. To give me sight – because I was blinded by hurt, victimization, grief, and turmoil. To open my ears to hear greater things. To love me this way. To teach me how to love His way.
I can say without regret or reservation I’m truly free. I’ve never knew before now that I could be. Sure, I heard it: Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed. I saw other people, or their versions of it. I had never known it for myself. And now that I know it, I cannot go back to what it was like before. I cannot live in a way that does not please Jesus because those ways violate my freedom and will get me back into bondage. It’s not that I’m perfect or I don’t make mistakes. Eternity is important…I am living my life from that standpoint. I cannot do it on my own. I have to have the blood of Jesus. It is the only thing that saves, transforms, renews, revives and gives me access to Abba Father, and his precious Holy Spirit.
I am finally beginning to understand. God, Jesus (the Messiah, not some other Jesus that is being preached these days), Holy Spirit – one God. Three separate persons. All supreme, lacking nothing, with all power…and He just wants us to live the way He originally designed us to. That’s it. And yet, we rebel and fight and war against it. It’s so much more desirable to be free – but many don’t realize it yet. But when one has been freed from a bondage they never knew they were in – they won’t go back. Freedom tastes too good. No sinner’s prayer can give you this. Only salvation and continued relationship in God can continually renew and refresh, give you the breath of life.
As I sat in the car today waiting for my husband, I looked up at the sky and the birds, the trees. Then I looked at the buildings that surrounded me. The car I sat in. The pavement. Everything the Lord makes has life in it…it lives! Everything we humans do requires artificial life. While we can practice medicine, and have a hand in creating humans with reproductive acts, the original life didn’t come from us. I’m not so sure why some have such a hard time accepting this truth. We didn’t breathe the breath of life into anyone. Sure we can construct things, but they die if we don’t inhabit or use them. Houses, cars, anything man-made requires man-made sustainability, but everything the Lord created does not. It’s effortless. He doesn’t have to continually touch it for it to continue operating. Food self replicates to feed the living things. The diversity in that fact alone is astounding. When humans make stuff, sometimes it results in viruses…something being off balance or incorrect in formulation.
What does this have to do with expectations? I have learned to expect to be challenged – and sometimes I forget the challenge is for my benefit. Sometimes, so do you. This is a time to grow ever closer to Jesus, but also to draw others in too. Where will their eternities lie if we do not?