Expect Nothing – Appreciate Everything!

Expect Nothing Appreciate EverythingWhen Lloyd and I were doing marriage ministry early in our ministry life, I used to tell the wives that I did not trust in my husband, but in God.  For some, that caused alarm — they could not understand what I meant.  I don’t mean that I expect my husband to behave badly – what I mean is that I understand that my husband cannot ever meet every need in my life.  Because he is flesh, as am I, he will undoubtedly fail me and I will undoubtedly fail him!

Understand this — I am married to arguably the best man on the planet!  He is kind to me; he is loving towards me; he is patient with me; he cares for me tenderly; he is careful to protect me; he’s a good friend to me; he is my very best friend; he makes me laugh; he rejoices in my joys; he feels my sorrows —  he is not, however, perfect; but I truly do believe that for me – he’s the perfect guy. When we started this journey together as man and wife we made deliberate choices to give the marriage back to God.  We learned early in our marriage that it was best to expect nothing at all from one another but rather to depend upon God in all things.  This attitude, I believe, has made us both find enormous pleasure in the ways that we bless each other.  That may not be clear so let me break that down for you.  Men and women generally have roles in a marriage — he takes care of the car; she ensures that healthy food is in the house; he will be the provider; she will be the counselor; etc.  While Lloyd and I surely understood these role expectations — neither of us held the other to these roles.  We never assumed that the other would be perfectly suited for any particular role.  He agreed to love me like Christ loved the church and I agreed to respect Him and build Him up as head of my home; and we agreed that the rest would work itself out.  Here’s what happened over these 22 years and 4 months:  when I cook for Lloyd, he is genuinely grateful for it because he knows I could choose not to.  When Lloyd gets the car serviced and fills it with gas, I am genuinely grateful because I know he could choose not to.  Now — neither of us has ever made the choice not to serve the other – but because our hope lies in God and not each other, each act of love is truly a blessing that is gratefully received and graciously given!

Because this has worked in our marriage – we have translated it to our relationship with our God.  Instead of expecting him to meet our expectations – we simply depend upon Him to do what He does as God and Father.  Instead of walking in an attitude of entitlement to His blessings; we choose to walk in an attitude of humility before Him; laying our requests about before Him and leaving them there.  We moved from saying “Good job, God!” to saying “Wow! Thank you Father for caring for me in such an extravagant way!”

Many believers have relegated God to the role of “Genie”.  We say “God is a Healer” and say it as if our words demand that He heal; instead of saying “God is a Healer” and leaving that illness at His feet expecting only that His will be done and poising ourselves to be surprised by the extravagance of His great love. We do the same with every attribute of God – Provider, Peace Giver, Keeper, etc.  What if we made the decision to expect that we can depend upon Him and decide even while waiting that whatever the outcome we will respond with profound gratefulness.  He has told us that we will have trials and should count them as joy — how can we do that sincerely if we are always expecting Him to fix them to our liking instead of expecting Him to work them out for our good and His glory?!  I’m not saying it is easy — but I do believe that He will empower us to respond in a right way.  He is Sovereign!  He is Just!  All of His ways are Good and Holy!  Won’t you trust Him with your life today?!  Expect Nothing – just Depend Upon God!

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also.  The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land.  Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.  Today, if you would hear His voice, (Psalm 95:1-7)

Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. (Psalm 146:3)

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