Expectations and Surprises

I am the Lord, and there is no other.
    I create the light and make the darkness.
I send good times and bad times.
    I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. (Isaiah 45:6-7 NLT)

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Every ADVENT{ure} begins with great expectations. Sometimes reality exceeds our hopes and other times, life disappoints. And very often, we are suprised by the unexpected.

I am sure Zechariah didn’t expect God to send an angel to announce that he and Elizabeth would have a child in their old age. As a matter of fact, he asked this question:

How can I be sure?

Instead of an answer, God’s messenger leaves Zechariah speechless.

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (Luke 1:19-20 NIV)

Sometimes, like Zechariah, I am not so sure I can believe God’s promises. Other times, I believe because l’ve experienced the presence of God, like Gabriel. (Well, not exactly like Gabriel, but you know what I mean.) God’s presence just permeates a day and you know it.

Like today. We began our second day of travelling to Demopolis, Alabama, where we planned to put our boat in the water for our journey to Florida. We spent the first night on our boat while it rested atop its trailer just north of Memphis. We were going to stay in a Walmart parking lot, but we missed the exit, and it was too far to turn back. Instead we stopped at the next interstate rest area for the night. We parked next to a couple of big rigs, which hummed us to sleep.

We awoke to rain in the dark morning, around 4:00am. Since we couldn’t get back to sleep, we decided to get on the road again. We weathered the rain, we filled up the truck with the cheapest gas ($2.49 a gallon) and kept driving in a south easterly direction.

As the sun rose before us, and the rain disappeared, I snapped a photo. Something as common as the sun rising foreshadowed the kind of day God had planned for us.

We felt smiled upon as we passed through Arkansas, Tennessee and into Mississippi, where we noticed stalks of cotton left in fields. We marvelled at the many catfish farms. We spent the day quietly being together.

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No problems to solve, no questions to answer, no agendas to fulfill, no forgotten boat keys or new boater mistakes, like forgetting to put the plug in the boat to keep it afloat. I bravely drove the boat off our trailer and over to the marina to pick up Les.

Surprises today included:

1) Me being brave enough to drive the boat by myself over to a new marina, which usually intimidates me.

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2) This guy waving at us as we drove into Demopolis, AL.

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3) Provisions, secretly stowed on the boat (from one of our sons) and given to me by my husband this evening!

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But the best surprise was the way God exceeded our expectations. Even with rainy weather, and all the potential hazards of trailering a boat over 550 miles in two days, we felt so relaxed and at peace.

You who serve God, praise God!
    Just to speak his name is praise!

Just to remember God is a blessing—
    now and tomorrow and always.

From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
    keep lifting all your praises to God!

(Psalm 113:2-3 The Message)

What name of God draws you close to Him this Advent?

10 thoughts on “Expectations and Surprises

  1. I love reading about your first few days and how peaceful and full of anticipation they are! Thank you for sharing all these thoughts and adventures and wonderful pictures. What a thoughtful gift hiding! And I love that cup with the hot air balloon on – I remember noticing the balloon on one of the first collages of yours that I saw – I think I must have a thing for balloons….wonder what that means?

    ‘Just to speak his name is praise’ What a wonderful line!

    1. Victoria- Thanks for joining me on this ADVENTure! I remembered the hot air balloon on the collage too…my son said the little boy reminded him of the Little Prince story.
      Yes, at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow!

  2. Well, Kel, it certainly seems the Lord has his hand all over this exciting ADVENT{ure} of yours. To be so filled with peace is a sure sign that He’s in it. Love the surprise stowaway from your son. How thoughtful of him! I am so looking forward to your posts from the Starboard Side. 🙂

    The name that draws me close to God during Advent is El Elroi: ‘The God Who sees me’, just as Hagar called Him when she was ousted by Abraham & Sarah in the Book of Genesis. It gives me great comfort to know that He sees me, no matter where I am in life.
    (Right now? I wish He was “seeing me” on the deck of a boat off the coast of Florida!) 🙂

  3. What name of God draws me close to Him during this Season? ‘Wonderfull’–He does want to surprise and delight us, to be open and expectant of His blessings.
    Great post, friend. Sounds like fun!

    1. Jody- What a joy to think of God as wonderful…this time of year is full of His wonders and remembering the greatest wonder of all…God becoming man to save us from our sins!

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