Not What I Expected – A Devotion

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Romans 8:22-25 (MESSAGE)

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

 

Pregnancy is a state of expectancy. While some describe it as a joyous occasion, it is actually birth that is the highly anticipated moment when that which we have labored for arrives. Actually, pregnancy is work. It begins with changes to the body. As a woman physically changes to accommodate a growing child, the hormone levels change often producing horrible morning sickness that can last a day, month or the entire time. Her body increases in size and becomes tender as everything is stretched to make room for her promise. Internal pressure pushes her organs to the side and shifts everything with it often causing acute discomfort and indigestion. Her life is subject to the constant poking and prodding of not only her midwife or physician but every other person who catches on to her change of condition. Unfamiliar hands are bold as they reach forth to make intimate contact with her bulging body. No longer is there such a thing as personal space even though that which is to come cannot be seen, people immediately take to talking to her belly rather than her face and her existence becomes obsolete as all inquiries are pregnancy related. There is a change coming but it is not here. People say the craziest things with differing motives ranging from friendly advice to staunch warnings. Of course, her life will never be the same. She is expecting something. The crazy thing is that with all the sickness, swelling and changes – a woman is content in her wait. She understands the potential that lies within despite the things that she is experiencing. A baby is God’s Promise and she knows that even though she cannot see her little one, if she can just hold on he will arrive. If she can just make it through nine months, she will fall in love all over again. If she can just keep moving, her arms will be full. Whether you are a man or woman, as a Child of God, you are pregnant with His Promises today. You are full of Godly potential that will burst from your life, if you embrace your changing condition. However, unlike natural pregnancy, too often we reject the changes that accompany the blessing and change that we desire. We want the reward of expectancy without the preparation that comes with it. Expectancy that results in the release of one’s reward requires a process of preparation that includes stretching, changing, discomfort and pressures in life. We are a dying vessel that is not worthy of reproduction. Like Sarah, who could only laugh at the thought of bearing a child in her elderly state, God waits for His People to become expectant once more. He has the seeds of righteousness that will grow into your promise but He is looking for fertile people. Those willing to endure the seasons of testing that comprise the birthplace of dreams. It will be work. There will be pressure. Your life will shift and expand to accommodate His Presence. Life will not be what you expected.

When a woman is pregnant for the first time, she has an idea of what it will be like but cannot fully appreciate the journey from conception to delivery until she has lived each moment. It has been said by many woman, “I didn’t expect this.” After all aren’t babies about sweet smells, precious rolls, soft skin and loving cuddles. Well, of course. But they have to get here somehow and their method of arrival is not a lullaby walk-through life. It is a lot of hard work. It is the toughest thing I have ever done. It is full of long days and even longer nights of waiting, watching and hoping. Sweat and swelling are not attractive but are a part of the process. The labor process is the hardest thing that I have ever done. But the blessing when my time has come all five times has been worth every second. Maybe just maybe if we could endure just one process that produced a Promise of God in life, we would commit to the processes of consecration and righteousness to know Him more. Only then would it be possible to see that all the testing and trials are worth it all. To fall in love with Jesus all over again, would it change our stamina in the race of faith? Lord, heal the hearts of men and women who have not had the joy of producing one of your Precious Promises in their life. I ask you to give them the courage and strength to keep trying and never give up on you or what you have promised. Give them strength and endurance to make it to the end and never quit. In Jesus Name, I ask these things.

Message 105:16-22 (MESSAGE)

Then he called down a famine on the country, he broke every last blade of wheat. But he sent a man on ahead: Joseph, sold as a slave. They put cruel chains on his ankles, an iron collar around his neck, until God’s word came to the Pharaoh, and God confirmed his promise. God sent the king to release him. The Pharaoh set Joseph free; He appointed him master of his palace, put him in charge of all his business to personally instruct his princes and train his advisors in wisdom.

 

Joseph is the perfect example of God’s Way of doing things. Joseph dreamed of who God created him to be. He was confident in the Word of the Lord and even shared it with members of his family. The joyous news ended there as Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. I am sure many times this young man said, “I didn’t expect this.” Promises are good things but such a vision becomes elusive in the midst of the pain of the process. Even new mothers struggle at the height of labor to envision the face of their newborn when the pressure is the most intense. Your promise is coming. It is quietly growing within you. The external pressure you are experiencing is characteristic of the internal excellence that is about to come. Character is required to do with your promise what it was created to do. Wisdom is born in the midst of change as we struggle to see God through our tears and feel His Heart in our brokenness. God has not abandoned you! He is changing you to be the Man and Woman of God with unshakable faith who is a receiver. One who is able to receive your promise AND prosper in it. Jacob’s promise was not only for his benefit but saved the lives of his entire family in the midst of famine. It did not begin as he expected but culminated in more than he could ever ask or imagine. The people that are pulling you down are all part of God’s Magnificent Plan. He has a purpose for every single individual ever created. The Lord longs for their salvation. It may come through you. The Lord will use you in your tears and in triumph when your heart is set on Him. Never give up, even when life is not what you expected! The best is yet to come!

Romans 8:18-21 (MESSAGE)

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

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