Expectations – Most of life’s wounds have roots in sincere expectations about the future that were dashed on the rocks in a storm. We’ve all been there. Kings must have the ability to land on their feet when things don’t go their way. First let’s examine the concept of “knowing the future.”
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matt 7:25 NIV
As Christians we are prone to think that God has the future under control and everything is all mapped out. Knowing the future is like knowing His will and we build a set of expectations around our beliefs about what the future holds – minus the storms. The premise is that God knows the future and, if we’re in tune with Him, understand the Bible, etc., we can know the future too. Armed with that premise we launch investments, businesses and churches with a great deal of confidence that we are safely within the will of God and nothing can go wrong.
The only flaw in our thought process (above) is that it hasn’t always worked in the past and most of us carry some level of fear that something could go wrong (like it did before). So we add one thing to our little theological recipe for life. We try to prevent the pain of missed expectations by avoiding “or ignoring” the risk of loss. Instead of taking steps to make make the gains, we live to avoid the losses. So, we are generally confident in God’s goodness and believe things will go right. However, having felt the pain of expectations unfulfilled, we are specifically inclined to fear new endeavors that represent risk. We deal with our fear of risk by pretending it’s not there! We think proceeding in the face of risk is faith. Strangely, this dynamic starts to sound like unbelief. The things we fear most start to happen to us.
What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. Job 3:25 NIV
Where is the risk highest? It can be when Christians do business together that real risk is most often neglected under the guise of “faith.” Our spirit-led promptings are usually legitimate. Guidance is general in nature because God expects us to be stewards of our assets and cash flow. It’s our job to think through the details and make wise decisions that account for the risks…. “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” is Jesus advice for marketplace ministry!
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt 10:16 KJV
What Does Work? – Having a sound, Bible-based concept of God makes risk a lot simpler. God does have a plan for the future. Jesus is coming back, Heaven is real… so is Hell for that matter. Mankind will face judgment and rewards in the end. That being said, God doesn’t micromanage the details of our future. In fact, he grieves with us when things go wrong. He is not an impersonal “force.” Our God is dynamic, alive, and personal; He communicates, rejoices, gets angry, and adjusts His course. Servants are a little more comfortable with a less personal God. Friends like the interaction. We all go through a maturing process from servants that just obey, to friends that ask for their heart’s desire in fellowship with the Father (Jn 15:15). We grow in our awareness of how personal God really is. He has invited us to help plan our own future.
Although we have a destiny, our future is not completely scripted by God. We have many choices and many relational encounters with God as we face everything life brings us. Understanding the true nature of God and life brings us to this point: We are firm in our resolve and ultimate direction but we leave expectations flexible regarding exactly how we’ll arrive at our destination (or destiny).
Risk is Real – The flaw in the thinking of many Christians is that God will protect us from risk. We take leaps of faith into the unknown and pray that nothing will go wrong. Then, when something goes south we are stuck; either blaming God or ourselves for the failure (both are bad choices). The Bible is full of stories of God’s miraculous intervention. He still does miracles all the time. However, managing your risk by expecting God to provide a miracle every time a storm comes is wrong practically and theologically.
What if we stopped pretending there is no risk? What if we admit the future is open and it’s our job to work with God to shape it according to His purposes? What if our family and business plans accounted for all the things that could go wrong (instead of keeping all those fears hidden in a closet)?
Before you face your next “storm,” realize that you are a King working with the King of Kings. You not only share the setbacks, you chat about the options to resurrect the situation so that God is glorified and the Kingdom is built. If we hit a home run, God is glorified and the Kingdom is built. Whether it’s the easy way or the hard way we are still walking with Jesus (the rock) and we’ll still arrive at the same destiny. Pretty cool isn’t it?
Here’s reality – We Kings live in real-world warfare but we operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual attack is magnified because of the warfare, but our fruitfulness and opportunities are magnified even more because of His power that works so mightily in us.
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us Eph 3:20 NASB
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Col 1:29 NIV
Strong Backbones, Flexible Expectations – Right now we see Kings experiencing the highs and the lows. Some are in storms or under attack while, on other fronts, there are great victories. We (and God) don’t control where the enemy may strike or what decisions those around us will make. Stuff happens… things change! Our resolve is like steel but our plans and expectations are very flexible. The reason God calls us over comers is because there are plenty of things to overcome.
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.