Unrealistic Expectations

Mom. I’m thirsty. Mom. Mooooom. I’m hungry mom. Mooooooooooooooom. I’m hungry and thirsty.

Sorry son, I don’t have any snacks with me. You’ll just have to wait until we get home. 

But mom. Moooooooooooom. I think I’m going to die of thirst. I need a drink now.

No, you won’t die of thirst. And I can’t get you a drink now, because I don’t have a drink now.

But mom, I’m thirsty.

Dude, you are in the backseat of a car. Not trekking through the Sahara Desert. It can wait.

really thirsty

Sometimes, that’s how it goes. Kids People have unrealistic expectations. Maybe you’ve been put in that kind of a situation. You know, where there’s no actual solution to the problem? Just whining. Moses found himself in a similar spot, too.

Exodus 17:1-2 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin,traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

Here’s the situation: there’s no water to drink. None, zip, zilch, nada. No water. But the people demand water. Talk about unrealistic expectations! How in the world can Moses give them water when there’s no water? It’s not possible people! Don’t you see there’s no river nearby? No lake, no spring, nothing. The kids are just going to have to wait until they get home because daddy’s got no water. In fact, don’t talk until we pull into the driveway.  Seems like a fair response to me.

The odd thing is that’s not what Moses did. Even though their request was impossible and their whining unbearable, he did something. He asked God for help. This is huge! I mean, I don’t always think that way. Either there’s water or there’s not. It doesn’t occur to me that maybe God could just make water. If this was multiple choice it would go like this:

A) Yes I have water. Here you go. B) No I don’t have water. Stop asking.

But with God there always seems to be a “C” choice. Like He’ll just produce some water from a rock. Or He’ll take away your thirst. He’s got a solution, I was just too focused on choices A and B and didn’t C it. (You see what I did there?)  Friends, we have got to stop limiting God based on what we think the possible outcomes are. He is bigger than the solutions we can come up with. Unrealistic expectations don’t phase Him. We just need to ask. If we do, He might just point us to a rock that produces water like He did with Moses.

The Sea Within

It’s an epic scene in history: the parting of the Red Sea. You may know the story… The Israelites have just been freed from slavery in Egypt, but the Pharaoh is sending his army to come after them. The circumstances look grave, but God does a miracle. They stand at the Red Sea before them and Moses touches the water with this staff. At that moment, the sea forms a wall to their left and to their right and they walk through it on dry ground. Awesome! Even more awesome is that the Egyptian army pursued them. During the pursuit, God caused the water to flow again and every single one of the bad guys drowned in the sea. God=1, Egyptian Army=0.

redsea

That’s how God works! He is a God of miracles. He does great big things that shape our lives. I think about Jesus and the thousands of people he fed, healed, and set free by the miraculous power of God. Jesus is awesome! This miracle in Exodus 14 was awesome, too! I want you to notice something about this story, because there’s actually a miracle before the miracle; a parting of the sea before the parting of the sea.

Exodus 14:13-14 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

If you read the whole chapter, you’ll find the Israelites freaking out. They say to Moses, “What, there weren’t enough graves for us in Egypt? God obviously brought us out here to be killed!” We see the fear and doubt overtake them. It paralyzes their faith to the point where they aren’t sure God can pull this one out. Even after the 12 plagues. They freeze.

At that moment, Moses speaks a word of faith over them from the Lord. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Stop, people. Stop freaking out. Stop doubting. Stop losing your mind to fear. The Lord is about to do a giant miracle! He is going to take this sea and form a wall of water to your left and a wall of water to your right. You will walk through it safely! It’s going to be okay!

The miracle was on it’s way for Israel. The walls of water would be in their near future. But there was another miracle that needed to take place: the miracle inside of them. You see, there was a sea of doubt and fear swirling around inside their hearts. They were in a panic, couldn’t see clearly, and had lost all perspective. But if they would just be still for a moment…

If they would just be still, God would blow into their hearts and deal with the sea within. He would push doubt into a wall to their left and push fear into a wall to their rights. And in their hearts, they would stand on solid ground knowing that a bigger miracle was coming. The miracle inside their hearts would give them the resolve to stand for the miracle outside of their control. Egypt was coming after them. But in this place of peace in their hearts, the worry ceased. And as that worry ceased, so too, did the waters of the Red Sea. They would soon see with their eyes, the walls of water to their left and right and walk safely through.

The miracle inside was just as great as the miracle outside. Both miracles saved them. One from Egypt and the other from themselves. What “inside” miracle do you need in your life? Take it to the God of miracles and watch what He will do!

Jesus is not at the zoo

Luke 23:8-11  8 Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. 9 He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. 10Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.

People go to the zoo to see some of their favorite animals that would otherwise only be seen in the wild.   Like the lion, except that you might not want to see a lion on the wild.  Sometimes the lions at the zoo are inside sleeping and you can’t get a good view.  How dare they?  Don’t they know I paid good money to see them.  That’s it!  I want my money back; I didn’t get to see the lions!  How easily we forget that the lions, monkeys, and seahorses are not just a spectacle; they are life.  In their minds, they exist for more than just show. (Except for the monkeys, maybe.)

Jesus wasn’t a monkey and he certainly wasn’t here to be a spectacle.  His ministry was not a zoo and he wasn’t trying to impress.  But Herod had always wanted to meet Jesus for those exact reasons.  He didn’t want to hear his message, he just wanted to see a miracle.  He was hoping for a David Copperfield.  And when he didn’t get it, he mocked and ridiculed Jesus.  He rejected him completely.

So many people are just like Herod.  They have heard about Jesus and might even been impressed with the stories they have heard about him.  They would love to see one of his magic tricks.  They would love to see him do something miraculous.  They will travel the world chasing the signs and wonders that follow a revival.  Yet they won’t apply His message to their lives.  They won’t accept his free gift of grace and forgiveness.  They won’t embrace the freedom found in obedience and discover the everyday miracles of a true follower of Jesus.  But I hope you will.  I hope that He becomes more than a miracle man to you.  I pray He becomes your everything: your savior, your Lord, your peace, and your life.