Life doesn’t always work out the way we would like. Sometimes it works out a lot worse than we would like. I think we have all probably had our fair share of experiencing that. I tend to lean on the side of hopeful optimism especially when it comes to things to do with God. But what happens when those situations don’t play out the way you expected? When you find yourself unable to conceive? When you suffer an unexpected loss? When a you suddenly find yourself with an unexpected illness? How do you hold onto God in those times?
Moses expected to live out a royal life, until he killed a man. Joseph expected to be a favoured son, superior to his entire family, until his big mouth landed him in a deep pit. Jonah expected carnage until God brought revival. These men’s expectations for their lives were smashed, and they all experienced times of doubt, times in the pit (quite literally for Joseph). But all of their stories end in redemption. How did they get there?
Jewish tradition places great importance on story telling, sharing what God has done with the younger generations. During the meal of passover these stories of God working redemption in the darkest places are shared. Our stories need to be heard by other Christians. Holding on to what God has done in our lives previously steers us through the present apparent absences. But it’s not just our stories, we have a whole book of stories and encouragements. Are you in the pit right now? Psalm 103 urges you to remember the benefits of God, one of which being that He ‘redeems your life from the pit’.
Joseph went from pit to prison via the slave trade, but throughout it all God was with Him, and Joseph never let his circumstances dictate his work like attitude.
Jonah from the depth of the sea prays –
Jonah 2:2-9 – “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”
Have your expectations been dashed recently?