This past Sunday afternoon, I was driving the motorhome through the scenic mountains of Montana. The rest of my family were quietly resting. My husband, Duane, had set our GPS, and I was confidently following it. I expected it to be an easy and smooth route and I always thought that you don’t argue with the GPS!
After about 20 minutes, I found myself deep in Montana’s National Forest. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but soon I realized that I wasn’t thinking about the beauty any more! The road narrowed to one lane, and I found myself driving along a steep mountain ridge with no guardrails in sight. And I am a bit paranoid of steep heights to begin with. (Ok… my husband would say I’m VERY paranoid!) I was extremely thankful that I hadn’t met another vehicle because there wasn’t enough room for both of us. (I was comforting myself with the fact that the motorhome is bigger than most other vehicles that I might meet.)
With the steep ridge to my right and nothing but sharp curves ahead of me, I began intently praying for God’s protection. I knew if I met someone on this narrow road, one of us would have to back up. Since I was driving a 40 foot motor home and pulling a trailer, I knew it wasn’t going to be ME! A few minutes later, I rounded a curve and was surprised and scared when I met a semi logging truck! (I think he was just as surprised to meet me!) Miraculously, we met at the only spot where the trucker could pull off, and we could safely pass him. That was a miracle from God! He had it all under control and kept us from harm.
Just as I had the faulty expectation that the GPS would lead me on a comfortable and well traveled road, I have had the same expectation from God. As a young mom with my sick son and daughter, I felt confused and overwhelmed when I began experiencing the harsh realities of life. After all, I was living my life for the Lord, and my husband and I were involved in prison ministry! Why would God allow BAD things to happen to GOOD people? I had the expectation that if I was in God’s will, He would protect me from painful and difficult things. When I faced difficult terrain and unknown curves, I began to question whether I could truly trust God. Just like in the situation with the GPS, I should have consulted the map (God’s Word) to see the complete picture rather than just basing it on expectations.
When my precious children’s lives were at stake, I eventually realized that there were two different choices. I could choose to accept the pain, believe in God’s sovereignty, and have God walk this journey with me, or I could choose to question God’s goodness, become angry and bitter, and struggle through life in my own strength. The first choice ultimately leads to Heaven, while the last one leads to an earthly life filled with devastation, and, finally, into eternal damnation. I knew I couldn’t control what was physically happening to my children, but I could control what was spiritually happening to me.
After looking into God’s Word, I have found that He has never promised that our lives would be free of stress and pain. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God has promised that He will be with us through our trials and struggles. “…lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:10) He has also promised that He will reward us for our faithfulness to Him. ”…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:21)
How about you? Are you trusting in faulty devices such as human intellect and emotions rather than in the unchanging and infallible Word of God? Do you find yourself struggling because God isn’t fulfilling your expectations? Don’t blame God! You will never be disappointed when your expectations are based on the promises of God’s Word. Rest in His promises!
(You can read more about our story in our book: “Big Mountain, Bigger God”.)