I was asked to write this week’s blog post, and I’ll be honest, I wanted to say no. Not because I don’t enjoy writing; I very much do. And not because I don’t have anything to say about our current series, Expectant; actually, quite the opposite. I wanted to say no, because God has been using this series to speak to and stir some places in me that I’ve pushed far down and have not wanted to deal with or talk about.
I wrote a couple different versions of this post, but hit a wall every time because it didn’t feel authentic or genuine. Sometimes in life, our reality looks so vastly different than our expectations, and the pain and disappointment of that can be crushing. I think when we find ourselves in these inevitable situations, it can reveal so clearly who we believe God to be, and the position we give Him in our heart. I’ve found myself in just such a place, living in that tension of unmet expectations and a reality I never thought I’d live.
I’d love to tell you that I have done nothing more than run into God’s arms and trust Him and rely on Him completely. The truth is, I prayed the most desperate prayers of my life, I begged and pleaded with God to intervene in my life and in my family, I cried out to Him for a miracle, and those prayers went heartbreakingly unanswered, leaving me with a lot of unresolved resentment that has often driven a wedge in my relationship with God. How do we live expectant of what God’s yet to do in our lives when we struggle to get past the bitter disappointment of what He HASN’T done? God is faithful and good and has provided for my son and I in miraculous ways over the last year or so. And yet, there is a part of my heart that hasn’t been able to trust Him fully; a hesitance to surrender all control to Him. Through all the many changes and new things I have had to learn or adapt to, I have repeated “all things new” to myself more times than I can count. But how do we confidently declare and believe that He makes all things new when we refuse to let go of the old?
After my husband left me, a dear friend gifted a book to my son. The book tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a little seed and a fox. They have many fun adventures together and both are quite happy with life as they know it, until one day the farmer tells the little seed that He has a wonderful plan for him. Little Seed had spent his whole life living on a rickety shelf in the farmer’s dusty shed, and he wanted nothing to do with the farmer’s new plan for his life. It was dark and scary and uncomfortable being buried underground and the seed felt afraid and uncertain, not understanding what the farmer’s plan could possibly be. You see, he didn’t know what to expect, but he did know that the farmer was good and kind, and always watching over him. Of course, over time, the seed grew into a tall and strong tree. A page I can never get through without choking up is Little Seed’s response to the realization that he has now grown into a tree: “It’s hard to believe what’s become of me. From the messy, dark place I grew and grew. From a seed to a tree - only the Farmer knew.”
It’s easy to get stuck in those dark, messy places, and sometimes it feels as though it will never come to an end. It’s easy to let bitterness, resentment, and heartache taint our soil and stunt our growth. I’ve gotten stuck a lot myself, and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But one thing I know for sure.....we were never meant to stay as a seed on that rickety shelf in the dusty shed. God has far better plans for you, plans to grow you, to prosper you, to bring you life, and His grace is sufficient to make all the dark, messy places in your life new once again. If this resonated with you, let us know. If you would like to listen to this series of messages, click here. Join us this Sunday as we conclude our Expectant Series.