Jun 3, 2013

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

This past weekend, Don and I shopped for a truck for him.  We searched for used trucks with lower mileage so we could get something nicer and higher-end for less – we had an “under 20” budget.  We quickly realized we were looking for a he-man luxury truck at a juvenile bare-bones price.  So we had two choices:  up the price, or lower our qualifications.

At my suggestion (still not sure what I was thinking!), we upped the price.  We test drove a 2012 GMC Sierra, blue, fully loaded, 4D crew cab, low mileage, and wow, what a fantastic ride!  But alas, it sold while we were test driving it. 

Soaring high with excitement…then whoosh, back down
OK, so maybe the Lord has a better truck for Don.

Sure enough, the next day we found one online that was even MORE perfect:  black and 4D extended cab (what Don really wanted), two-tone leather interior, heated seats, the works.  And only 7k miles to round out the perfect deal!  We quickly called the dealer and made arrangements to meet with him on Monday.  Then we lovingly caressed every picture – all 39 of them – and started to get really excited.  We prayed about it, of course, and really felt like this was “the one” for Don.  

Don’t get your hopes up, bah humbug – riding our hopes, we gleefully crested the peak, wind in our faces.  The view was amazing!

Then the next day, the Lord spoke.

“Don’t buy that truck.”

In the middle of watching a TV program, seemingly out of nowhere, the still small voice of God spoke to my husband.  And because Don is His son, he heard the voice.  And because my husband is a faithful son, he obeyed.  Disappointed, but Don knows without question that the Lord always has a good reason – the BEST reason – when He tells us to do or not do something.

Whoosh, back down again

My inquiring, analytical mind kicked into gear:  why, Lord, shouldn’t we buy it?
Oh, wow, could it be because maybe my writing will be going well sooner than we think, I’ll be speaking, and Don won’t be working as a roofer that much longer?   So maybe he won’t need a truck like this, and his current truck will do?  Maybe my current full time Project Manager job will be ending next year?  Could it be? 

Soaring, amazing view, wind in my hair!

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

Fresh from his own disappointment, my husband didn’t want to see me fall prey to the same disappointment.  It hurts.  Plus he has heard for years how my books and speaking will be supporting us “soon”, and how he can quit his job and we’ll be travelling.  And it hasn’t happened yet. 

His words felt like cold water on my spark of hope. 

Whoosh, back down again.

Wait, why shouldn’t I get my hopes up? 

I remembered something Gary Smalley spoke at a conference years ago.  He was looking for a good used car for his daughter, and on a very tight budget.  Each day, they would search the morning paper together, declaring “Wow, today might be the day we find that car!  Let’s start looking!”  Excitedly they looked, day after day, believing that any day now could be “the one” where God would answer their prayers.  For over a year they looked, day after day, until their prayers were answered.

In his words (best I can remember), “We had a choice.  We could focus on what we didn’t have yet – walk through each day with shoulders slumped, dreading the morning paper search, knowing we had a slim chance of finding what we wanted.  Or we could focus on the perfect goodness of God – walk with head high, eyes glowing, smiling, and excited to see if today would be the day God would answer our prayers.  We knew He WOULD answer, but only He knew WHEN that would be.  It’s about quality of life, and living out what we believed to be true about the Lord.”

If my dream to write and speak as my livelihood never happens, I’ll be disappointed whether or not my hopes are up. So why not keep them up, and live with the hope that God could answer my prayers at any time?  Sure, I need to keep my job, and I need to enjoy my life right where I am.  And I need to work hard to do MY part of the dream:  write, write, write!  I can do all of that, and do it with “hopes up”.

Because my hope is not in what happens, it’s in the One who makes it happen.

Don and I know we'll experience disappointment again - we're human and stuff happens.  But then we'll get our hopes back up by focusing on the Lord of the universe – Giver of every good and perfect gift – and how amazingly well He knows and loves us.

And we'll enjoy the ride! 

Today's Challenge:  Think of an upcoming event that you dread. What is a practical step you can take right now to get your hopes up about it? 

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