The boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” That’s how I feel about this fall. I had hoped that things would start to get back to normal by September. After all, people have been getting vaccinated, and many of the COVID-19 precautions we had been practicing over the past year, from social distancing to face masks, were shifting from required to recommended. I had also hoped that the start of the fall school year would be a reset, allowing former plans put on hold to now be possible. But with the rise of the Delta variant and the Delta plus and as many of our children and the unvaccinated are now contracting the virus, I am realizing that all my hopes and dreams for the fall are slipping through my fingers.
That trip my family had planned for later this month is now canceled.
Meeting up with local friends in person will have to continue virtually.
Inviting our neighbors over for a barbeque and watching that Sunday football game will have to wait.
Going back to regular Sunday morning services won’t be happening any time soon.
Taking my children to the library and other indoor places will still not be part of our daily rhythms.
I’ll have to get a refund for that new sports club I signed my kids up for.
This past year has been hard enough, but what makes the fall especially hard is the reality of unmet expectations. We could see the possibility of normality on the horizon before we lost it again, and that lost dream feels like a sucker punch. My heart aches for what could be and the knowledge of what has been lost. I grieve for what I could be doing or what my family should be doing right now.
But God meets me in the grief of my unmet expectations. He does not chide me for desiring good things in the midst of a pandemic, but He does challenge me to desire Him more.
Throughout Scripture, we see the people of God continually battling unmet expectations. Hannah and Rachel’s desires for children initially go unanswered. God rejects King David’s desire to build a temple. Moses’ hope to see the Promised Land goes unfulfilled. In each of these instances, God doesn’t correct His people for having longings and dreams; rather, He comforts them with His presence and reminds them that He is enough.
Sometimes we worry and stress over what we don’t have. It’s easier to complain and get angry for the doors that have been shut than practice gratitude for what we do have. But in our unmet expectations, God refines us, asking us to wait and trust that His timing is perfect. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, God longs for us to say to Him, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus did not want to die. He even asked God to make a different path possible for salvation. However, when that request was denied, He did not lose heart because His ultimate desire was to please His Abba Father. Jesus brought every desire under the authority of His ultimate desire, which was to glorify God.
So, how can we glorify God right now in the midst of this pandemic? How can we bring our every desire captive and trust in God’s timing, even when that means continuing to wait and defer our dreams?
Our best way to cope and even thrive this fall and throughout the rest of the Covid-19 pandemic is to simplify our desires down to one — to please God. That way, whether our specific dream takes place or not, we can still have joy and delight in the present moment because our main desire is to please God. No matter what happens this fall, no matter if we remain in person or go back to virtual gatherings, no matter if the coronavirus flares up again or begins to dwindle down, we can guard our thoughts and emotions by keeping away “anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” (1 John 5:21 NLT).
Ultimately, God is greater than any vacation. God is sweeter than any gathering. God is better than any class or trip or new venture. Yes, there is space to grieve. Yes, there is space to name what is lost. But let’s also trust God in His good and perfect timing for all things. Let’s focus on how we can glorify God right now, even in the midst of unmet expectations.Leave a Comment
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Michelle thank you for sharing your heart. On the last year. It not been easy for anyone saved or not saved. Hospital not able to cope. To get a Doctor if you need one. You have to phone first then wait for the Doctor to phone you back. This is how it is were I live in Enniskillen Co. Fermanagh N.Ireland. Then tell the Doctor what you think is wrong with you. Then the Doctor will decide if they will see you or not. If have the internet and know how to send the Doctor a picture if you can send a picture of your systoms. For the Doctor to look at before phoning you back. Then they might see you. They may not. Just send you a script to your nearest chemist. If you need anything to make it better. Rather than seeing them in person. As like before you could phone up make appointment to see your Doctor in person. Which I feel is better. As most times if they can treat it what wrong with you. Without seeing you they will. Then Church you have to book your seat. I think that is wrong. I believe they should have the seats distance apart. If seats according to law. You sanitise your hands when come into Church and when you leave. If pulpit type seat. Put an X on were not to sit. Then the spaces without an X you can sit there. Go in one at time. You shouldn’t in my eyes have to book like booking a seat to go Church. To here the word of God. God is there all the times. You can talk to him anywhere anytime. Without making an appointment to see him. So Church in my eyes should be like that. If they wanted. They could have at Churches. Some one at the door to make sure you sanitise your hand on the way in. Show you were to sit. Before the service starts. Then on the way out if a different door from the one you came in through to go out by. Some one at it. To make sure you do your hands again. Just go out one after the other keeping your social distance as according to the law. Then everyone is kept safe and wearing your mask. But that is the way things are. Some are changing. Some not. It might not be for the better any of it. But we have to keep trusting in the Lord for everything. Thank him for every day he wakes us up to enjoy another day in his beautiful world. Praise him for it. Praise him you are alive. Like Psalm 118 verse 24. Do it every day. It says. “This is day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. ” Yes let us do that no matter what. Trust or Lord for everything. It reminds me of the story in the Bible. We’re Jesus fed 5000 plus people including the children that would have been there that day. Who came to here Jesus speak. The people that day didn’t worry about Germs. Even if Covid had been around then. They didn’t worry about it. As they knew in there heart of hearts. That the Saviour of the world Jesus would not let anything happen to them. The people didn’t care if the person who sat down on the grass beside them. When Jesus told the disciples to tell them to sit down on the grass. Had washed their hands or not. Nor how close they were to one another. They sat on the grass all them and ate when the baskets of food were passed around with fish and bread in them. As they all trusted and knew Jesus wouldn’t let anything happen to them. So I say in all this to do with Covid. Were is our faith? especially if saved. Trusting that he will take care of us. Not let anything happen to us. So I trust Jesus for everything. That he will take care of me. Not let anything happen to me. Meet all my needs. Like Phil 4 verse 19 says. My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory according to Christ Jesus. That means everything from money but not let me greedy with it. Just enough to meet my needs. Plus my health needs. So in that verse I don’t need to worry. Jesus will keep me safe. But it does not mean I will not get sick. But if that happens. I can trust God to heal me or used the Doctors to heal me. Hopefully I stay well. As had my time of being not well. Nothing serious. But in it all I trusted God no matter what. Like Prob 3 verse 5 & 6 says. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” How true that is. Thank you again for what you shared. Keeping you all incourage in my prayers. Love Dawn xxx
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. The sun is just coming up. And while this would typically be a good day and I would do the things I need to do to get ready to face the day, the thought of masking up if I choose to worship in person saddens me. The roller coaster ride that goes with this pandemic has taken a toll on my energy and mental health like it has with so many people. However, I think what has been my saving grace to get me this far is knowing that I am not alone. I have my faith that God is watching over me. And regardless of weather I worship in person or not, I have my faith family. I have always been fond of saying “this too shall pass”. It just seems like a longer wait with this pandemic.
This was wonderful and starting with the Mike Tyson quote made me even more intrigued.
Grace Shentaler says
Perfect timing in my life.
Pamela Thomas says
WOW…thank you for helping put me in perspective. I needed this today and now every day. Thank you for sharing.
Amen, thank you for sharing this!
Beth Williams says
I feel your pain. My prayer was that Covid would slow down last summer (2020) & life would return to somewhat normal. As we all know that didn’t happen. In the midst of all this we can glorify God by trusting that God knows best for us. Having the faith of a mustard seed & praying for things to change back to pre Covid days. I don’t sense that happening anytime soon-especially with another variant out there. All we can do is take life one day at a time & keep on praying & trusting.
Living in Houma Louisiana (Terrebonne Parish) with the results of hurricane Ida….there are a lot of unmet expectations.
But in the midst of unmet expectations we have become or bumped into the hands and feet of Jesus. I have realized that my plans for me and God’s plans for me often look very different, I sometimes mourn the difference. But His purposes and plans are better, even when they come wrapped in brown paper bag packages with no bow. Yes there has been great destruction, but a greater sense of renewal, hope and comradery that we haven’t experienced in a long time. Unmet expectations can become stepping stones into something unexpected yet beautiful fashioned by the Creators hands. The Master Architect is creating a masterpiece in our unmet expectations.
This is such a good word, Michelle! Thank you for challenging us to lay out disappointment at the feet of God, who is better than anything we could desire here on earth.
Brenda M. Russell says
Oh how encouraging to hear what’s in the heart of other Believers. If there has ever been a time when we can ask our Creator to take inventory of our hearts, it’s NOW.
Being a Soldier on the Battlefield for our Lord has ups and downs, swerves and curves and only patience and a grateful attitude can position us for growth and development on this Christian Journey.
Being a Disciple of Christ takes a lifetime. It’s a great calling ! ! !
My desire is for Believers to see God’s Grace and Mercy active in their lives even now.
God bless your steps and your decisions.