This past week, the thought “I didn’t expect that” came up a few times for me. On 2 completely different occasions, I was hit with the realization that just because something doesn’t look like or arrive the way I expected, it doesn’t mean my prayer isn’t being answered. I’ll give you a very practical way this happened.
I ordered a DVD from a documentary company. After a few weeks, I reached out to let them know I never received the package. They said it was definitely shipped, but said they would send it again, just to make sure. A few more weeks go by, and again, I reached out to say that I just checked my mailbox, and I still hadn’t received the package. Right after sending the email, I noticed a small envelope from a company name I didn’t recognize. I immediately remembered that I had an identical envelope at home sitting in my junk mail/unimportant pile. I opened the envelope, and there was my DVD. After immediately sending a follow up email apologizing (then later paying for the 2nd DVD), I realized that my expectation of how I thought the package would arrive caused me to think I never received the package. I honestly was expecting a larger/more obvious envelope or box because that’s how past DVDs from other companies had arrived. I was accusing the sender of inadequately doing their job because surely what I requested couldn’t have arrived in this packaging.
That’s when the lightbulb went off. How often do I do that with God? I pray & ask Him for something, but because it doesn’t arrive in the way & package I expect it to, I draw a false conclusion that He never sent the package, it got lost, or it never arrived. Meanwhile, I kept overlooking the envelope sitting on my desk the whole time.
Another scenario happened today while at work with an opportunity that was presented to me, and again, the same realization came to mind. He IS answering my prayers, it’s just not how I expected. This made me grateful that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I’m grateful for repentance & a transformed way of thinking. Isaiah 43:18-19 was illuminated for me: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Prior to this, God made dry land on the sea. It would have been so easy to expect God to provide in the same way again, but this time He said He will make a river in the dessert. But if I keep clinging to the way in which He packaged gifts & blessings before, I won’t be able to perceive the new gifts/blessings He has right in front of me. I’m grateful that God isn’t hindered by my limited & finite imagination!