Garden of Expectations

garden expectations, Jesus, fulfillment, promises, weeds,

Photo Credit: Shannon Richards (CC)

Merriam Webster’s definition of Expect: to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of.

What are you looking for to?

Having an expectation is much like gardening. You cultivate the ground, plant the seeds, and water the soil, expecting to harvest whatever you planted. You may not see anything visible for a month or two, but you still anticipate harvest. And if you plant annuals, you expect those annuals to harvest every year.

What happens if after you’ve planted your seeds, God considers some of the vegetation incompatible with his vision for your garden? You didn’t realize one vegetation is overtaking your entire garden. Or you discover one flower isn’t compatible with another. For whatever reason, God wants to uproot that particular harvest.

How do you respond? 

For me, I’ve pursued a certain harvest like a farmer recovering from a drought. I was desperate and consumed with seeing a particular harvest. This season occurred when I transitioned away from full-time ministry. When I was in full-time ministry, I lived in the ministry house. Thus, I breathed ministry literally 24/7, 334 days of the year (I’m accounting for a few vacations during the year.) I didn’t have much of a life outside of ministry.

So, you can imagine the freedom and opportunities I saw? My world felt like a wide open field. I expected to thrive in community, join various social groups, and have a large collection of friends. But as I ran to opportunities and friendships, things fell flat. Nothing grew the way I wanted. After a while, I was mad.

Mad at God because didn’t he see I need this? I just want to have fun. Explore life. Run in the wide open space. Instead, I felt isolated in my 800-square foot apartment.

After a few months of complaining and crying, God informed me that I was in a hidden season. What? (I wasn’t too thrilled.) This wasn’t the harvest I expected. Quietness, solace, and contemplation?

So, I finally yielded to this season. I spent time with him and a few close friends. Do you know what? God knew best! It truly was a difficult but rewarding time. I received healing and identity. I grew in character and discovered more about God as a friend. Someone I could trust, rely upon, and share secrets with.

In hindsight, I’m grateful he didn’t give me what I expected, but needed. I’m seeing the value of that season even more as I’m entering the season of community and exploration — that season I had wanted before. Because during that season of hiddenness, I got delivered from co-dependency, where I depended on God, not a human to meet my needs. Provide identity. And complete me.

I’m realizing it’s not a particular harvest that I should focus on, but on the ultimate harvest: Jesus.

God’s ultimately working on manifesting the resurrected Jesus in each one of us. Where we are the fragrance of resurrected life for ourselves, our family, our friends, and our world.

So the next time, you’re discouraged that your life isn’t harvesting what you expect, just look at Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Because by gazing into his image, you’ll see yours form in the most gracious way.

How about you? What did God harvest that you didn’t expect? Please share in Comments below. Thank you.




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About the Author


Friend of God. Writer. Resting in His grace daily.