But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
Psalm 77:11, 14
Do you know that feeling, in December, when the dishwasher repairman comes to your house to let you know that it will be $300 to fix the control board on your old dishwasher? How about when you work for what seems like hours to track down a person who can fix your hot water heater, only to be told that it would be best to just replace the entire thing? Do you know that feeling of not knowing where the money will come from to pay for broken appliances during this month of gift-buying?
That was me. That was us. Our dishwasher broke the weekend after Thanksgiving. No problem--we can hand wash dishes in the sink for a while. But then our hot water heater went out. We were warming up water on the stove so that we could hand wash dishes in the sink. I was making arrangements to drive to a friend's house so we could shower and give the boys a bath. This was not really how I had expected on spending my spare time in December.
I was expecting to be making cookies. I was expecting to be mailing out Christmas cards. I was expecting to be listening to music by the light of the Christmas tree. I was expecting to put the finishing touches on gifts. I was not expecting to be heating pots of water; I was not expecting to use my dish drying towels after every meal.
But this Advent season, God had some expectations of what he needed to show me. First, he orchestrated some events so that my parents would be living with us for a while, and it just so happens that they are happy to help out by doing dishes. Second, he worked through an experienced friend at church who came and fixed our hot water heater by simply replacing a part. Third, he aligned circumstances in another family's life that caused them to no longer need the dishwasher they currently use; so they offered their fully-functional dishwasher to us.
Check, check, check.
God's lavish provision exponentially exceeded whatever unmet expectations I had.
It's at those times when my Love and I just stand humbly before God in disbelief and ask, "Really?!? Now you're just showing off."
Two weeks ago, I believed that I would be disappointed and stressed by not having my Christmas projects finished on time and be $1000 in the hole thanks to new appliances. That was my expectation.
God took the liberty to shatter those expectations.
Yes, God has some expectations for me this Advent season. He expected to continue his work of teaching me how to trust in him. He expected to show me once again how his riches far surpass my imagination. And he expected to remind me that his gifts do not usually take the form that most people expect.
I was expecting a working dishwasher and hot water from my tap. Those things were taken from me, and instead I got unexpected surprises and the joy of knowing that the God of the universe has things under his control.
What a perfect time of year to be reminded that God does not come to us in the ways in which we expect.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:10-12