| Jacolien van den Steenhoven

Living in expectation

If I'm honest often when I look forward at what God can do in my life my expectations are quite low. I guess if they are not too high then I won't be too disappointed. If something positive happens, like an unexpected meeting, a gift, a healing or a breakthrough in a long term issue then that is obviously a bonus!

Last week I felt God challenged me about this attitude. It started with a lightbulb moment. I was reading about Zechariah's in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 1). The news that he would have a child in old age was literally incredible and his response reflected this. He said what I would probably say, "Do you expect me to believe this?" (The Passion Translation). He responded in unbelief and as a result God silenced him and he could not speak until the miracle had happened. What struck me was, that my low expectations are basically unbelief if we are going to say it as it is. Unbelief acts as a barrier to embracing all that God has on offer for us. For me it can impact on what God can change in me and the ways he can use me. I want to grapple with this. Can I believe that I can be a patient person carrying peace and be experiencing love. Thats about my heart. Regarding my ministry do I trust God that He will work in and through me so that people will see Gods love. The pressing issue this week has been expecting that people will show up to our christmas carol singing and party. There is always something that is a challenge to my hope levels !

I want to believe that God can work in me so clearly that people do look at my and our life and see something of Jesus.

The great thing is that we don't just have Zechariah's story but also Mary's straight after it. She also gets a visit from an angel who tells her that she will become pregnant. She responds quite differently, even though the news was about to make her life very complicated! Mary said, " But how can this happen" but later she responded: "This is amazing! I will be a mother for the Lord! (The Passion Translation) As his servant, I accept whatever he has for me."

Now that is belief and expectation!

If I am going to follow this example it means believing:
- that God is present in every part of my daily life and that he has a good plan for me,
- that I can be an expectant and patient person because of his amazing power and commitment to me,
- that when I step out in belief he will always work something good out of it whether I can see it or not,
- that when we invite people from our neighbourhood to our home God will work through our imperfect lives and we will be an instrument of His love.

The wonderful thing is that our amazing Father loves to surprise us and He promises to exceed our expectations. Let me tell you how he has just done this for me. We were preparing for Christmas and decided to give out words of hope on tea lights around our neighbourhood, invite people to come with us carol singing and end with a party at our house. My expectations were seriously challenged at times. The thought of the tea lights, would people want our gifts, would anyone come because of the rain, carol singing and do people even want that.. To top it all, nearly half our community could not come having got sick and I was feeling really unwell and lost my voice! (blog about expecting healing to follow!). But God...It was wonderful. God provided in every way.

- He sent us people to help us.
- The tea lights were received with gratitude and enthusiasm.
- We found an amazing bargain christmas tree.
- The rain stopped the moment people arrived to go carol singing.
- People kept turning up all evening for mulled wine and mince pies, people who have never visited us before. 
- We even had a moment of reflection and prayer together which was well received.

It was really wonderful to be able to introduce some prayer into our time together. We asked everyone if there was an event or person during this Christmas period they wanted to reflect on or pray for. We listened to music and all wrote our hopes and prayers on a card and hung them in our Christmas tree. It was very special to do this so easily with our friends and neighbours. 

So all this goes to show, its not about us its about Him.
Wow that is a good thing!

So for me, I am stepping into expectation. Every morning I ask God how I can grow that day in patience and expectation Because of this I am seeing more situations throughout the day where I can practice my patience.

In this time of Advent we're looking forward to Christmas, the birth of Jesus. But it is not only to remember Jesus's coming in the past. We can expect Him at any time of the day in every situation of our life.

reactions

Op 28-12-2015, 08:58 zei wil snetselaar

thank you for this honest item, be blessed in all you can be for our God in the coming year. with love Wil

Op 21-12-2015, 19:57 zei Pa en Ma

Lieve Jacolien, Dank je wel dat je ons inzicht wilde geven in je dagelijkse omgang met God. Hartelijke groeten,,en liefs, Pa en Ma

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