As most of you are well aware, I talk a lot about the newest member of our family in this blog… and yes… I’m talking about our 62lb Aussie/Great Pyrenees mix dog Fiver. He really is a good dog, faithful companion, bundle of energy and at times a great listener! I would have to admit that he is probably the best behaved dog that we have ever had… especially at his young age.
He is not a runner that wants to bolt out the front door with the first opportunity that presents itself, as all three of our previous canine companions were. He follows me around like a shadow and is very responsive to my verbal commands… except… well, let’s just say that he and I don’t have the same expectations of his behavior when someone comes to the front door!
To put it mildly, when someone appears on the other side of the storm door on our porch he goes bananas! With the way our house is designed, it is very easy to see anyone coming as they approach the front door. So by the time they get to the door Fiver is full of excitement and adrenaline to greet them. My approach so far has been to put him on a lease, which he readily accepts and to have him sit by my side… and all is great until the guest steps inside. Then Fiver turns into a twisting, rambunctious, very excited with a desire to jump up and place his paws on their shoulders pooch!
So… as you can guess, we’re working on adjusting that particular behavior. The funny thing is that he quickly calms down, becoming gentle and unobtrusive and lays down off to the side of wherever we are sitting with our guests. When the CNA comes to assist Piper two days a week, he follows them into the bedroom and keeps and alert and close eye to make sure that she does everything right for his favorite human!
Fiver’s guest greeting antics show us the importance of having the same expectations with others that you are working with in the accomplishment of an agreed upon goal. One of the many things I’ve noticed in the journey of Piper’s health since she began the multitude of tests that she’s endured over the years since 2007, is that as helpful as they may be, not everyone has the same expectations for her as we have.
This point came to light again in a conversation just a few days ago. As I prayed and asked the Lord for insight concerning the confirmation of what my kids and I have thought throughout Piper’s and my difficult journey, I began to realize that Piper’s and my faith and associated expectations should not and have not been affected by others who might not be in the same place as we are.
In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul prays “that the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Christ better. Then you will have deeper insight. You will know the confidence (or more accurately translated: ‘expectations’) that he calls you to have and the glorious wealth that God’s people will inherit.” (God’s Word ©) This verse seems to confirm the realization that Papa God gave to me as mentioned above.
What jumped out to me as I studied this verse again this morning was the point that we would have an intimate knowledge of the expectations that HE called us to have and not those of someone else! At the beginning of our journey Piper and I had lots of well-meaning people give us their expectations for the ways that they thought we should precede. But then they were disappointed if not upset when we choose to not place our confidence in their advice but instead follow what we believed to be HIS directions and expectations.
Our desire to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33 MKJV) has been the standard we adopted from practically day one of our relationship and we were not about to deviate from that course of action as we faced what we knew would be the greatest battle of our lives. I can still picture Piper and I taking hands in that dorky, well-lived in, old duplex we were living in in Oklahoma when I came back from work late one night having just received the call from her doctor advising me on the negative preliminary findings of the three different brain scans they had run on her.
There were no questions asked by either of us as we knew exactly what we needed to do and went immediately to Papa God in prayer, placing the situation and Piper’s life completely into His hands. From that point on, our expectations have been a mirror of what we continue to believe are His as stated in His Word. (For starters please see: Matthew 6:9-10, 3 John 2, Matthew 8:17, and 1 Peter 2:24…)
Over the roller-coaster years since then, we have learned (at times the hard way) that not everybody will be in sync with our course of action… even though they may nod their heads symbolizing their supposed agreement with us when we share our faith with them. But overshadowing that lesson is the understanding that when push comes to shove… where they are in their faith, whether they are in agreement with us or not REALLY DOESN’T MATTER to the outcome of what WE are believing for!
I’ve come to see that we are not to allow other people’s expectations and/or differences in their faith as compared to ours affect OUR confidence in the expectations Papa God has called US to have! Remember… Jesus told the women with the issue of blood that she had been dealing with for twelve years to “Cheer up daughter! (for) Thy faith has made thee well.” (Matthew 9:22 God's Word ©) He made absolutely no mention of anybody else’s expectations or faith for her! Her healing was dependent on and came about because she acted on what she believed was God’s expectations for her! Besides, in her case according to Jewish law, she probably would have been arrested and put away if anyone else knew what she was about to do as it was against the law to be around others in close physical contact with her illness.
So my point? Over the years and especially as of late, I have learned the importance of having people around us who can lend physical, emotional and spiritual support to Piper and I in our time of need – BUT - I cannot depend on their faith and/or expectations to carry us through as it may not be the expectations that Papa God has called US to have. In other words, the help is great and greatly appreciated… but when it comes to the final outcome of Piper’s health, our expectations and corresponding actions of faith… that are firmly based on God’s Word… are our final line of defense!
Can you say the same thing?
Have a super weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose expectations am I expecting to be confident in today?”