Written by Natalie Foreman
In 2009, my 20th birthday was on a Saturday. At
the time, I was in my sophomore year at Blinn College and working 2 part-time jobs and while the one
was at the apartments, the other was at Subway in La Grange. I went into work
that weekend, knowing that when I left that Sunday that I would get to return
back to my friends and go to the lake. My anticipation grew
to the end of the workday that I got. I planned to head straight back to
Brenham to hang out with my roommates, so when I finished my shift, I called my
mom to say I was headed back. While we spoke on the phone, she begged and
pleaded with me to bring her and my dad some lunch. I told her I didn’t want to
because I was trying to get back to college. I wanted to be selfish and just
head back to Brenham. I didn’t want to waste an hour of my day. So, in the end,
she won, and I stopped at Sonic to grab them some food and some half-priced
drinks. Looking back now, I can see that they just wanted to see me again and
spend some extra time with me on my birthday weekend. BUT at that moment, I was blinded
by my expectations of lake time. So, I rushed away from my parents’ house, leaving a cloud of
dust in their driveway. Every expectation I had of how my birthday celebration
was about to go to the
lake was crushed when I overcorrected twice on that old dirt road.
As the dust settled and my car came to a stop after doing a side-over-side roll in the ditch, my expectations were shot. I was 20 years old and 1 day when I had to learn the hard lesson of better the car than a life.
I tell you that story to show how out of proportion and off base our expectations can be. We can’t know what the future holds, but we do know WHO holds it. We can rest assured that He has got this under control. Allow Him to be at work. Our expectations are short-sighted and often self-serving.
As I think about how we treat our expectations and reality, I think of Moses. He was directly addressed by God, but yet didn’t hear the words, because he thought he knew what to do. He just pushed through with his prior knowledge. Moses messed up by doing this. He allowed his vision of God to be misused God’s instructions. Moses’ messed up in Numbers 20:7-12, “The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” So, Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebel, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.””
Moses had previously had a similar situation and God allowed him to use his staff to hit the rock. But on this second time, God instructed him to speak to the rock. He decided to smack the rock instead, and although water still poured out, there was a punishment.
Rolling my car was a way that God could get my attention. I was too rushed and too distracted as I drove back to college. Oftentimes, even when God gives us directives, we think we know best. Moses was given instructions in Numbers 20 and he relied on his past encounters with God rather than the recent instructions from God.
My challenge for you today is to closely listen to what God has to tell you. Don’t just rely on what He has told you in the past. Seek what He needs to tell you now. Spend extra time in prayer listening. Be up-to-date with what God has for you.