Recently I had a significant birthday, I’m not saying which one but I can now get free prescription (every cloud has a silver lining). I wondered what kind of day it would be, I know that my husband had planned some kind of party etc. but under the current restrictions the only way I could meet anyone was in the garden and then in very small groups. But the weather had changed and I knew that even that was not possible. My expectation of the day was now very low, however an amazing thing happened. I found myself not being disappointed at all, but actually being totally blown away with all the small acts of kindness done for me and messages given by phone or facetime etc.
The day was so special even though if I didn’t actually see anyone except my husband and my son who lives with us. But I'd have to say it was one of the best birthdays ever because I valued every small thing so much. Sometimes we live in such a material world with expectations of everything being big, bright, and fast, and easily provided at the push of a button that we miss the beauty in the small things.
I was thinking about this today and my mind was drawn to Elijah, in 1 Kings 17 & 18 we read all about the miraculous things that God had done for and through Elijah. He had been fed by ravens, provided food out of virtually nothing to keep a small family alive, and raised a child from the dead, as well as battling with false prophets over the sovereignty of God and calling down fire from Heaven, oh and of course praying down rain after 3 years of drought. Elijah was used to living in the time of `big things`, he was used to seeing God move and being in the centre of things. But then suddenly we find Elijah fleeing for his life and hiding out in a cave on mount Sinai. He found himself alone, afraid and wondering at the series of events that had gotten him in this isolated place. I imagine he never expected to be in such a low place when he had been so used of the Lord, both too many and too few.
But eventually God speaks to him and asks him what he is doing there, and as anyone would he pours out his feelings and thoughts to the Lord. Then the Lord passed by the cave and all of Gods power exploded before Elijah in the form of an tornado, an earthquake and a fire, but it was at the still small whisper that the Elijah stepped out to the entrance of the cave and heard what the Lord had to say to him.
This made me think that we often expect the Lord to do big things to get our attention, maybe listening to a world renown speaker, maybe travelling to a place where the Spirit is being poured out, maybe doing a new bible course, or many other ways that we expect the Lord to speak. Sometimes I have found in doing these things that I have had high expectations but actually come away a little disappointed that the speaker or the meeting or the teaching had not quite been up to what I had expected, and so I was left feeling flat and sometimes a little sad and discouraged.
I think in these days of lockdown and social restrictions the Lord has been speaking to us in the small whisper, He has been saying, put down all the big things, seek Me in the small things. Don’t look to the usual ways to keep your spiritual life buoyed up, just sit and spend time with Me. I struggled at first with this, thinking I had to do all the expected things. Stay in contact with everyone, read every WhatsApp and follow every link to every new word or prayer programme and although they were good, they did not fulfil my expectation. It was only the quiet times with the Lord and His word that really spoke to me.
The lowering of my expectations to be `blown away` with everything has actually led me to see the word more clearly than I have for years. To stop and read the word, to meditate on it and actually study some words, rather than dash through it to get onto the next reading or to seek the “big” message has meant that some of the little truths in God's word has become infinitely more precious, and I have valued them so much. In Luke 2:17-19 we read that “Upon seeing this miraculous sign the shepherds recounted what had just happened. Everyone who heard the shepherd`s story was astonished by what they were told. But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. (TPT)
It`s easy to be caught up in the excitement of the story but fail to ponder what the Lord is saying. Taking time to look for the small things, be thankful for the small things to ponder and pray about what the small things mean will ensure that we don’t just move from `wow` to `wow` experiences without really hearing what God is saying. But by asking the Spirit to slow us down, lower our expectations of `wow` we can actually learn to see and appreciate the small things, because these are often the things that bless us most.
Author: Jan Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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