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Mar16FriGod's plans are often greater than we can ever imagine. March 16, 2012 by Colonel Floyd Tidd
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
What do you hope for? Do you believe it can happen? How will you respond if things don't work out as you expected?
During this time of Lent, we watch from this side of Calvary as a band of Jesus' followers discovered life beyond unmet expectations. For three years the disciples had followed Jesus and witnessed him teaching with authority, healing the sick, calming the stormy seas and raising the dead. Surely, they thought, this Jesus must be the promised Messiah. But then one Friday afternoon, on a hill just outside Jerusalem, Jesus hung on a cross, and with him died the hopes of so many.
By early Sunday morning, however, Jesus' empty tomb declared the reality of life beyond unmet expectations. God's plan of salvation turned out to be much greater than anyone had expected or believed possible.
In Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby invites us to discover what God is doing and then prepare ourselves to join with him in his mission in the world. Can we stretch ourselves to consider what God is dreaming as he fulfils his purpose? What is his dream for you? For creation? For the world? For his Church? What is God's dream for The Salvation Army?
Today, the mission of God continues to surpass our greatest projections. We can choose to live a life filled with hope and anticipation, and guard ourselves from despair and disappointment when our plans or timing differs from God's. Our expectations should be built on our understanding of the past and the current realities with our hope for tomorrow. It could well be that God's dream—and the fulfilment of his mission today and in the future—will exceed our expectations.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul reminds us that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Not only can God do more than we could ask or imagine, but he chooses to work within us through his Spirit. When we experience moments of unmet expectations, we shouldn't assume that God has abandoned us. Instead, we should trust that he will lead us to a deeper experience of his provision.
As we approach Easter, I ask you to consider your expectations for the days to come. What is your hope for the mission of God in your life, family, community, world and The Salvation Army? Does your faith in God compel you to anticipate great things while remaining open to how and when he will bring them about? To do so depends on our openness to see beyond the unmet expectations in order to witness the greater work of our faithful God.
God raised up the Army for his mission to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity. May we be an Army that marches forward with confidence and expectation as we serve a God who can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Colonel Floyd Tidd is the chief secretary of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Prayer of Aspiration
I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.