Changing Expectations

The Book of Esther is a great read. The plot thickens when Esther discovers Haman's plan of genocide for the Jews. She is challenged by her uncle to approach the king and ask for help. Even though she was the queen, it was against the law for her to go to the king without first being asked (breaking this law could be punishable by death). After praying and taking into consideration her uncle's wise words, Esther declares she will approach the king, but she also shares her expectations are not hopeful. Read her words and feel the weight of her gloomy acceptance of what could happen: "I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). 

I heard a story about two men fishing at the same pond. They were fishing on opposite sides and one man was considerably older than the other. The old man noticed something odd about the young man. When the young man caught a large fish he would always release it back into the pond. However, when he caught a smaller fish he would keep it. Confused by this the old man walked around the pond and said, "I've been watching you. What you're doing doesn't make sense. You throw back the large fish and you keep the small ones. Why?" The young man smiled and said, "Well, I have a small frying pan." 

Our expectations can be like frying pans. There are times we need to trade in our small frying pan for a larger one because God is doing something bigger than we expect. This was the case for Esther. Her courage to approach the king proves her willingness to accept that God could be do something bigger than expected. Our actions of faith do not earn us more of God's favor or extra blessings; they position us to receive what grace intends to give.

How many "big fish" have we thrown back because our expectations were too small? Changing our expectations of what God "is" or "is not" doing requires courage, faith, and giving God some space to work. We all face challenges that require God's intervention for a good outcome. We have to let go of our small frying pans to accept what God is trying to give.