Written by Jessica Miracle
Jessica Miracle is a Nashville area based worship leader, musician, and piano/violin teacher. She’s the wife of Joe and dog mom of Lainey. Today, my talented friend, Jessica, brings wisdom and perspective on our expectations of life and God. To connect with Jessica or view more of her work, CHECK OUT THE LINKS BELOW!!!
I like Hallmark movies. People make fun of me for it, but I do. These movies make me feel good, I know what’s going to happen, and the ending is always happy. In envisioning the movie script of my life, I want a Hallmark movie….but I’m learning that God doesn’t write Hallmark movie lives. I want Him to, but He doesn’t. If you’re like me, we desire our lives to be stories where everything works out perfectly in a two-hour chunk of time, where God answers our prayers exactly as we want Him to in our timing, and we get a neatly wrapped up happily ever after. However in reality that rarely is the case. God is a much better writer than that. He loves a plot twist, unexpected, seemingly impossible odds….there’s nothing predictable about a life story that God is writing. Now that’s not to say we don’t know the ultimate ending….that’s actually one thing of which we can be certain. But most everything else…predictably unpredictable.
God doesn’t write Hallmark movies, He writes Oscar winners.
In a perfect Hallmark world, the town is always saved, the marriage to the wrong person stopped, or whatever the dramatic is event that has a deadline is resolved just in the nick of time. In the real world….not so much. At least not always. I’ve been thinking lately about how, as we watch our stories play out, that the Lord doesn’t always abide by our human deadlines and/or absolutes. It seems like he often waits until our imposed deadline expires or whatever terrible thing we want to prevent happening happens. But then, where there seems to be no possible resolution to the situation, he moves in a way most unexpected. Deliverance comes from a place we never imagined, provision comes from a mysterious source, or there’s straight up supernatural activity. We don’t, and likely won’t, understand fully the why or how. But we do know this- Our God is the author of creativity. He rarely solves our problems the way we think He’s going to.
We see this over and over again in scripture. At church we’ve been reading through the book of Daniel. If the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were a Hallmark movie, the decree that they be killed would certainly have been stopped just before they were thrown in the fire. But it wasn’t. It looked like the story was over…. but it wasn’t. God (by way of an ‘Angel’- Jesus??) miraculously showed up in the fire with them and saved them. Again a few pages later with Daniel himself- a Hallmark movie script would have saved Daniel before He became probable lion food. But He wasn’t. The seemingly worst-case scenario was carried out and he was thrown into the lion’s den. It looked like the story was over…and yet it wasn’t. God delivered Him in a most unexpected way. No one would have dreamed a den of hungry lions would have turned down supper.
We see this even when we look at the story of Jesus himself. He died. He actually died. It looked like the story was over for three long days, and Jesus’s followers probably thought it was….but it wasn’t. Plot twist, He rose from the dead. Now when we apply this principle to our own lives, it looks like this- Just because the expected path to deliverance or to the promise didn’t happen when or how you thought it would, doesn’t mean the deliverance or the promise isn’t going to happen. Just because the deadline for action has passed doesn’t mean the story is over. Just because the unthinkable happens doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a creative way to bring about His plans. If He moved like we expected Him to all the time, He wouldn’t be God. If we fully understood His ways, He wouldn’t be worthy of our worship.
I think sometimes God lets us experience the disappointment of missed deadlines or puts us in situations where it looks impossible to increase our faith, to bring us to a greater trust in Him. He puts us in situations where we more fully realize that He is in control and we are not.
In reading the accounts of Daniel and his buddies, I got to thinking about another story in a similar setting- the book of Esther. There are a lot of similarities between these stories. Both accounts take place in Babylon-though not at the same time, both place Jewish people in high places of influence in a foreign kingdom, both books require those Jewish people to stand up for the One True God…and both books issue an edict of death to Jewish people. However, what struck me in the story of Esther is the way the Lord’s deliverance came about. In other biblical accounts we’re sort of programmed to expect God to do something obviously mystical when He delivers….we expect to see Him move in the overtly miraculous. In the story of Esther, however, His actions are more subtle. The decree is put forth that all the Jews are to be killed. Once again we would expect that the decree would be stopped- and yet it’s not….again. But what struck me about this story is that the divine intervention wasn’t flashy at all. Yes, it was dramatic, but the supernatural wasn’t as obvious. It simply looked like wisdom and favor for Esther and Mordecai being in the right place at the right time. Once again in this story we see the death decree wasn’t ever actually stopped…but instead Esther was given favor by the king and a law was issued that allowed the Jews to fight back. Deliverance was available, but they actually had to do the work themselves.
There’s a lesson in that, I think. Sometimes when God prepares a way it won’t look mystical, it will look like you doing the work to make it happen- in His grace of course. Just because you have to put in the effort to see what you know God has promised come to pass doesn’t mean it’s not His will. It’s ok to fight for the promise.
God’s answers often don’t look like what we think they’re going to look like. Sometimes His movements are subtle. Sometimes we have to do the work ourselves in His strength. Sometimes a word of wisdom comes from a leader or friend. Sometimes healing comes in the form of medical treatment instead of an immediate miracle. Sometimes a new career doesn’t happen through a crazy opened door but instead through an inspired idea and hard work. Sometimes a relationship comes not from a kismet moment but from putting yourself out there on a dating app (I know all about that one, haha). Just because we have to do some work to make a promise happen doesn’t mean it’s not God’s way, timing, or provision.
The bottom line is this- Don’t let your expectations rule. Don’t write off a new opportunity because it’s not what you expected. Don’t feel like you’re settling if God hasn’t moved by your deadline and you need to take action, the miraculous might just come as you take action. Submit each situation to the Lord and ask HIM to show you how He’s moving. Really submit it to Him and He’ll be faithful to open your eyes. Expect the unexpected, be prepared for the plot twist. Don’t think you can totally predict exactly how God’s going to move, because you can’t. But be at peace, because He WILL move on your behalf. His mercies are new every morning and He has promised that He make all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
God doesn’t write Hallmark movies, He writes Academy Award winners. Trust him. He’s a good story teller…. the best really!