When Life Isn't What You Expected
Deep breaths, disappointed expectations and faces buried into helpless hands at the end of a long, heavy day. It’s not the place you thought you’d find yourself at twenty-something years old.
What happened to living our dreams? The ones that kept us up at night, and the ones we hoped would convert into a well-paying jobs with a six-figure salaries in the big city?
From a young age, we all at some point or another had this idea of what our lives should have been like. But after graduating college, a sobering concept called reality came knocking at our door, and we found ourselves wallowing in our unmet expectations. Perhaps by now you thought you’d have a ring on your left finger...or you thought by now you definitely would have moved out of your parent’s house.
Now what, right?
It feels like God remembered about everyone else’s dreams except our own.
One of my favorite passages, 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21, shares the story of Hannah––a prayer warrior and woman of faith who knew this feeling we’re talking about all too well. She found herself married but unable to have children. Her husband’s other wife, Penninah, had children of her own. Hannah began to fervently pray to the Lord so much to the point that the priest of the temple, Eli, thought she had become drunk. The Bible shares Hannah “[poured] out [her] soul to the Lord––[in her] great anguish and grief” (1 Samuel 1:15-16).
Quick pause on this note.
The posture of Hannah’s heart propelled her into reaching her miracle.
Hannah had every right to be angry and to cause her emotions to distance her from her Creator. But because of her persistent faith, God honored her broken heart and heard the cry of her prayers. By staying faithful to God, she reached her breakthrough and received the greatest blessing––having a son of her own!
Life will give us every reason to dwell in our hurt and question why. But when we choose to bring our contrite and broken spirit before God, we can trust that He works all things together for our good!
What miracle have you been waiting on God for?
Is it financial or physical?
While our miracle may not literally be the birth of our own baby, there are dreams and desires incubating inside of us that we have been waiting to actually see happen. The gap between where we are now and where we wish to be is how we will choose to respond in the waiting. No one likes to wait...especially me. If you’re anything like me, patience can sometimes grow thin. It’s a constant battle to wait and to trust during that waiting period.
While Hannah waited, she could have spent her time doing anything, but she chose to praise until her breakthrough came to pass. In our waiting when things don’t go our way, how will God find us responding to the situation? Will we remain faithful in prayer, or will we let our impatience overtake us?
Our outcomes are all about how we choose to respond.
In Hannah’s praying, God brought her miracle because the Bible says “the Lord remembered her” (1 Samuel 1:19). Isn’t it a beautiful feeling to be remembered? More than ever, we’re living in a day in age where both women and men wish to be remembered. Our social media channels have created this sense of needing to be seen and heard so people will remember our name.
We crave this because we crave human connection. We crave acceptance and long to feel important, don’t we?
I think more than ever we need to know that God remembers us.
God remembers you. You are not forgotten. You are not abandoned. Psalm 27:10-14 reminds us that “when my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me” (Psalm 27:10). God loves you. As long as there is breath in your lungs, there is purpose and a plan for your life.
Before God completing the miracle in Hannah’s life, He made it known that He remembered her pain and her sorrow. Before God completes the miracle in our lives, we need to remember that He remembers us. And if we truly believe He remembers us, we can trust Him with our tomorrows.
We can trust Him to know the answers of life when we don’t. We can trust Him to do something awesome with our lives even when our current location doesn’t seem to align with our dreams. Nothing is gone through in vein. You could have woken up in anyone else’s shoes.
If God wanted, you could have woken up in Paris, Tokyo or Australia. But God chose this day that you would find yourself in the middle of the city you’re in––no matter how small or big it may seem.
In this season, find rest in placing your trust in the One person who will not fail you––your Creator. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Although you find yourself in a much different scenario than you thought you’d be, trust that your best days are ahead of you.
When your life brings stress and disappointment, don’t give up. There is so much purpose in your waiting. God sees the future and how this season of your life will fit into that future. God remembers our greatest struggles and is faithful to guide us through the challenging seasons we face.