I had just read Ephesians 3.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB1995)
And I was feeling particularly weary on my journey with Real Recovery—a journey that was beginning to feel more like a grind than a blessing.
Why isn’t God providing big opportunities for this book? Why does it feel like I have to fight to the death for each and every promotional opportunity?
So, in response to my Bible reading and my increasing weariness with the post-release season of Real Recovery, I wrote the following angry words in prayer:
Dear God, as You know, it’s really frustrating to know that You can do BEYOND ALL THAT I ASK OR THINK yet You’ve done so much less than I asked or thought.
When We Least Expect It
I know, I know—those are harsh words for a God who is unwaveringly good, patient, and loving toward me, a very wavering child. Deep down, though, I truly did feel angry toward God. Yes, from Day One, He had been walking with me through the book publication journey—from compiling my messy thoughts in a Word document that eventually turned into a manuscript to submitting book proposals and query letters to signing a book contract to preparing Real Recovery for publication to becoming an officially published author with reviews on Amazon and speaking opportunities in churches and schools.
Somehow, though, none of that seemed to matter to me when I thought about the fact that I wasn’t speaking at national and international conferences…or writing for magazines with thousands of readers…or having book signings at every bookstore across the United States. The opportunities that God had provided thus far didn’t feel like enough. I didn’t feel like enough.
But it was in that moment—my moment of deep discouragement—that He worked in exactly the way that I doubted He would: far more abundantly beyond all that I asked or thought.
Our Walls of Expectations
Literally four hours after I wrote that angry prayer, I got an email from an assistant producer of one of my favorite podcasts—a podcast that I had been hardcore dreaming I would be on one day. Several weeks prior, I had sent a copy of Real Recovery to the host of this podcast with the (very small) hope that she would ask me to be on her show. And she did.
Honestly, I had been trying to get involved with this ministry (which the podcast is a part of) for years. I hadn’t had success—up until the point when that email arrived in my inbox. To say I was shocked when I read it would be a total understatement.
Friends, the moral of this story is that I never should’ve underestimated God because He is indeed “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (v. 20). But we can’t put Him in a box where He’s surrounded by the walls of our finite expectations. When we put our finite expectations on God—whether we expect Him to work at a certain time, in a certain place, in a certain way, etc.—we limit Him. And He is a limitless God. He doesn’t usually work exactly when we want Him to or where we want Him to or how we want Him to.
But that makes those moments—the moments when we least expect Him to work and He exceeds our expectations—all the more wonderful.