When Emmanuel came, he disappointed expectations of many; they failed to see that the reality was better than their expectations…”
Miroslav Volf

Praying-handsI wonder how often I miss the Father’s redemptive intervention in my daily life because it doesn’t look like the salvation I expect.  My conversations with God usually go like this: I direct Him to the ache I most need Him to meet, but then keep my self-assured grip around what I believe would be best.  It’s funny how this kind of prayer does nothing to hush the uneasiness in my heart.  I have another choice, because of God’s patient grace.  I could surrender as I hope for a strong Messiah to save me without defining what His redemption needs to look like in my circumstances.  I could just be weak, and cast my needy heart onto the Father, looking to Him for the path of salvation He has worked for me.  This kind of prayer is a trembling prayer, but it brings ‘the hush’ my human heart needs.

My desperate place – waiting on a Savior to deliver me from what I believe I need to be delivered from, reminds me of how kin I am to the hearts of God’s people in the years just before Jesus’ birth.  Commoners clamored for a king, a strong ruler to lead the chosen out from Roman hands.  Israel’s spiritual leaders, men schooled in the words of the prophets, watched and waited for rescue, with minds and hearts firmly committed to what their Messiah would surely do to deliver them.  This is me: anxiously waiting, so sure that God’s intervention should come in a certain way. Surely, they must have thought, His strength would come quickly and finally, powered by a sword and able-bodied armies.  They also thought they knew the best plan for the deliverance they couldn’t secure on their own.

And He did come to us, already shoved out into the night, and the quiet voice of Isaiah resounded in His life of rejection, troubling threats, and misunderstandings.  His deliverance looked so different than that in which they had hoped.  The Messiah asked, even allowed, His close friends to walk this same confusing path, one where rescue seemed to come too little, too late.  His cousin, John, knew this well, begging Jesus’ close friends to plead with Jesus for rescue from his death sentence.  Jesus asked John to be willing to accept His rescue even in loss of life.

Our God asks and offers the kind of strength that hopes in the heart of the Deliverer, rather than in deliverance coming a certain way.  Might He be inviting you to let Him transfer your specific hope for redemption onto His trustworthy shoulders? Our rescue has been secured, and ultimately, “the reality will be better than our expectation.”

 

Meredith SpatolaMeredith joined The Barnabas Center staff in January 2009, upon completing her Masters in Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and her Bachelors in Religion and Psychology from Furman University.  She counsels, leads women’s groups and teaches a seminar called “Hope in the Darkness” for those walking with individuals suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. Meredith, her husband Jon, and daughter Charlotte live in Fort Mill, SC.

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