Great Expectations

You may have read the popular story of the African king who had a good friend he had grown up with and his friend had the habit of always saying “this is good” whenever anything happened.

One day while they were out on a hunting mission, the friend, having prepared the guns for the king as was customary, gave him a loaded gun that misfired when the king used it. The misfire blew one of the king’s thumbs off, to which the friend stated, “This is good.”

“No! This is not good!” the king replied angrily and threw his lifelong friend into jail. About a year later, the king embarked on another hunting trip, venturing into an unsafe area alone. The king was captured by the cannibals who lived there; they tied him to a stake and prepared to burn him when one of the cannibals noticed that the king had a thumb missing. Their superstition was to never eat a person who was less than whole. The king was promptly untied and sent away.

The king reflected on this turn of events and realized it had turned out to be a good thing after all to have lost his thumb. He released his friend with apologies and explained all that had happened to him with the cannibals and his missing thumb. “It was good,” the king stated, “I am sorry I had you imprisoned- that was not good.” His friend quickly replied, “No it was good, for if I had not been in prison I would have been with you and I am not missing a thumb.”

We don’t know the end of the story before it begins. We imagine the best endings when we say “I do,” at the wedding altar. We envision the three bedroom house and the two kids.  We expect to grow old together. When we disagree, we expect our spouse to respond in a certain way, namely our way.

We invest a small fortune in a college education, only to find the job market flat. Or, we land the “dream job” that leaves us disappointed. Yes, we have many expectations.  

Consider Naaman from II Kings chapter five. Naaman had the dreaded disease of leprosy; he was encouraged to go to the Prophet Elisha’s house to be healed. When Naaman and his entourage pulled up to Elisha’s house, a messenger was sent out with directions for Naaman to go and dip himself seven times in the Jordan River for his healing.

Here is where the expectations of Naaman are obvious. He states, ““Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God and wave his hand over the place and heal the leprosy.’

Naaman expected to receive from God in the way he envisioned it. In his mind, the scenario would play out like this: the prophet would come out to him, wave his hand over the leprosy, call on God and the leprosy would be healed. Naaman nearly missed his healing because of his narrow mindedness.

What are you asking God for? How have you decided the answer will come? Perhaps you’ve lost something of value that at this time you can’t see any ‘good’ reason for its loss. Perhaps you are expecting God to work in one specific way, but He may surprise you and the answer may come in a way that you never envisioned. Keep an open heart, don’t box Him in.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” All things; the good things and the bad things, somehow each will work together for my good. This life of faith is a partnership. God promises that if I will put myself, my life into His hands, He will weave together the pieces so that even when I am surprised I can be sure of His love and mercy to see me through. So friend, have you put yourself, your life into His hands? If yes, then rest assured in the anchor of His unfailing love. Try not to jump to conclusions. Not getting what you want when you want it, may be a good thing further down the road. Psalm 130:5 “I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on Him.” This is good.