Are Your Expectations Dimming God’s Power?

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Every day he’d march through the historic windy town of Ellensburg, turning right onto Main, passing by my store with the flapping Antiques flag. His warning blasted a block away, allowing time to move inside or duck behind something. Potential customers, eyeing the sidewalk display of old iron beds and steamer trunks, would follow me as I’d slip through the door. From a safe distance, we’d cringe at the sound of his angry words. As the clamor of the one man parade blew by, they’d look to me, eyes wide, faces begging for solace and comfort.

“Blankety blankety blank blank blanking blank blank!” he’d scream, shaking a fist at the invisible tyrant walking next to him.

          “It’s okay. He’s harmless, “ I’d say, peeking out from behind a gargantuan 19th century wardrobe. “It’s a form of Tourette’s Syndrome.” Noting their distrust, I’d add, “ Really. Nothing to worry about.”

One day, while on a ladder washing my store front windows, I hear the cursing turn the corner. There’s no time to scurry down the ladder, so I stay put, pretending oblivion to his noisy presence. I feel guilt and shame for being afraid. How can I shun a human being as if he’s invisible? It’s wrong.

Town talk claims he’s not violent, yet everyone seems to avoid him, and store owners complain that he runs off customers. My feelings of wrong doing linger, leading to eventual prayer and resulting in a sense of conviction. Befriending the cursing crusader became my mission. For starters, a simple greeting… Hmmm… Hello? … Good morning? … Howdy? … How ya doin’?

Every day, as the obscenities drew near, I’d pose in the door, ready to shout a cheer filled greeting. But as the angry banter closed in, I’d panic, stepping back through the door, breathing as if I’d just ditched a serial killer. This went on for days,… okay weeks… and some of that time I failed to even attempt communication.

Then, one day courage arrives (TA-DA!), like a late dinner guest I’d almost given up on. I was ready. When the string of expletives shadowed my door, I stood tall shouting above the swearing.

“Good morning!”

Glancing my way he replies.

“Blankety blankety blank blank blanking blank blank!”

What? I was shaken and confused. This is not what I expected. I did what I felt God would want me to do, and… and… he yelled at me!

I’ll get back to this story, there’s more, but let’s pause a moment.

Am I the only one who does this? Plays let’s make a deal with God? Spouts sentences, whether verbal or in thought like, “If I do this then you’ll do that. Right God? “If I’m good you’ll reward me and it will look like _______________ “ (fill in the blank).

His word says:  Matthew 7:9 NIV: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Of course he doesn’t specify whether that bread will be white, dark, buckwheat or cinnamon toast. How many times have I thought God was not listening to my petitions, only to find out later that the answer was in front of me all along, just not as I’d pictured it. Worse yet, not the answer I wanted. God was not following the script I had prepared for him.

A simple personal example: My husband and I asked God to give us a sign if it was time to close our 16 year old antiques business. We’d asked this before when stress was high and sales were low. Each time, something obvious would happen that turned the business back around. So this time we were expecting something similar. Maybe that designer from Montana will show up with his big truck again, or the gals who bought out my entire line of estate jewelry will come back for more.

The morning after our prayer, news came that our last subcontractor was moving out. That meant we were losing money, not gaining. We should have thought immediately, “Oh, okay God, thanks for the prompt and clear response.” Instead, we scrambled, searching for ways to keep the doors open. Thank God, in the middle of a discussion to take on a hefty loan, we heard what He was saying.

 

Please know… I AM NOT saying we should shrink our expectations of God’s almighty power and desire to bless us. That’s not the point at all. He wants to bless our socks off. But, we, or at least I, don’t always recognize the blessing because it is not what I thought it should look like.

The timing was perfect for closing the business. Once we crawled out from under this burden, we could see the stress… the desperation. We’d been frantically bailing with a holey bucket, trying to keep afloat, safe from the sharks of failure. Little did we know God had a plan for us. Much better than our script… more creative… written by the Author of Happy Endings. Today we enjoy our home business, still dealing in antiques, but leisurely, with no overhead and stress free.

 

Back to the story…

I continued to greet the entrepreneurial cussing master. Days, weeks, months my exuberant greetings reaped only creative profanities. Then on a day no different than any other, it happened… after a simple “Hello.”

He stopped… motioned for the invisible antagonist on his left to wait, looked me in the eye and said, “Good Morning.”

Then he went back to yelling at his invisible debate partner.

9 thoughts on “Are Your Expectations Dimming God’s Power?”

  1. It is necessary to lift oneself to the divine Being who is above the soul and even above intelligence. Now this divine being, this sublime friend, is in each one of us. For God dwells within every man, but few know how to find Him. And this is the way to salvation. Once you have seen the Perfect Being Who is above the world and within you, resolve to leave the enemy which takes the form of desire. Overcome your passions. The joys of the senses are like the matrices of sorrows to come. Not only do good, but be good. Let the motive be in the deed, not in the reward. Renounce the fruit of your works, but let each of your acts be like an offering to the Supreme Being. The man who sacrifices his desires and works to the Being in Whom the beginnings of all beings originate, and by Whom the universe was formed, obtains perfection through his sacrifice. Spiritually integrated, he attains that spiritual wisdom which is above the cult of offerings, and experiences a divine happiness. For one who finds his happiness and his joy within himself and within himself finds light as well, is at one with God.

    – Dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita.

    All the best. With love, Neil.

  2. Great post. You’re so right. We can never guess the timing or the means by which God will bless us. What we can expect is He will always be there if we ask and listen. I admire your ability and perseverance to connect with that man when others did not.

  3. how come i live through these answered prayers and still doubt when things aren’t going my way? thanks once again for waking me up to reality. GOD does answer our prayers.

  4. Love it!! Sandy musta had a few go rounds w/ this town intruder also to be so oblivious to my rantings as we sheeted the garage here. He said he had learned to swear all over again. HAHAHAHA.
    Fear is why people turn their heads to the man, or to anything that creates any conflict within them. It is easier to turn your head then to welcome this man into your life. I am very proud of you but not the least surprised you made this quest and saw it fulfilledWe never know what a little kindness, in any form, may mean to the person(s) it was aimed at.
    As for our petitions to God and how we fail to see the answers unless they suit our wishes?? Being human isn’t always the easiest thing to be. Accepting that we are human is even tougher. I am not so sure I ever really get straight answers from Him after any specific request. I think this is why I seek counsel w/ those I trust as well as pray. I was once told that there may be more than one way that seems to be God’s will. Making choices and moving along can often backfire but we learn from it none the less.
    Mostly I have learned over the last 6 years especially that nothing is that big a deal, well at least it hasn’t been for me. Starting a new business, moving into a bigger, more costly home, taking on a relationship that to most seems ridiculous. All these things are potentially life altering and threatening in some way or another yet I have made the decisions to go forward in all of these ventures and so far they have worked great. If they do not I will know it wasn’t meant to happen, not failed as I have given all these efforts the best I had to give them.
    For me it is not only God that enables me to do what I do w/o fear or hesitation. It is knowing I have so many people invested in me that I carry in my pocket at all times.
    I loved the story, your committment to enter this mans life is proof of why I am so blessed to have you as a friend.

    Love Ya—Raymond

    1. Ray
      I never thought of it but you could have had a great conversation with my Ellensburg friend … LOL.

      Also .. thanks for making the point about needing to bounce things off each other. That is so true.

  5. I agree with Evan….I know I have heard the story about this man before….but to put it together the way you do is amazing….I see God working in your life through these stories, you are becoming quite the accomplished writer my friend….I loved it

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