Links Daily Devotional

What Did You Expect?

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of) the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:19-20, ESV)

OK, it’s getting ridiculous.

Yani Tseng, dominating women’s golf, including a runaway win at the LPGA Championship, doesn’t sniff the top at the U.S. Women’s Open. The trophy goes to collegian So Yeon Ryu, never before a winner on the LPGA Tour.

Luke Donald, the number one male in the world—secured by a victory just a few days before he teed it up at Royal St. George’s—, soars to 75 on Saturday at the Open Championship and misses the cut. Last year’s U.S. Open champion, Graeme McDowell, joins Donald in surprising ignominy, starting with a competitive 68, then posting 77 on Saturday. The jug is raised by a beloved but aging Darren Clarke.

We don’t need to detail the failures of Phil Mickelson taking aim at the world’s top spot or Lee Westwood trying to win a major. Over and over, the two world stars have missed the chances laid out right in front of them.

Now forget golf. Go to your own awareness of the world around you. How many friends do you have you “should have been retired by now?” How deflated is the housing market in your area—or is it really just about right after a massive and surprising propulsion forward ten years ago? In 1990, just what price would you have put on a gallon of gasoline?

And here’s a different one altogether. Who is that acquaintance whose life was the very definition of debauchery until that shocking hour some time ago when he came to you and said, “I’ve found what I need. I’ve found Jesus”? Could you ever have imagined that this friend’s life would look as it does: given over to study of the Word, to prayer, to compassionate ministry in the community. Whoa, didn’t see that coming!

Life is a catalogue of the events and outcomes we never expected.

When Paul wrote to the brothers and sisters in Christ at Philippi, he told them of his opportunity in his Roman imprisonment to share the Good News of Jesus with the palace guard. And then he told the Philippians that he expected not to be ashamed of his work and words, whether his imprisonment ended in life or death, for he had set about the business of honoring Christ. What a perspective!

We may be able to anticipate very little in the way of outcomes on earth. But when we, like Paul, give ourselves over to glorifying our Savior, we can count on the redemption of our efforts for His sake, because God is for God. When we live our lives through Him and for Him, the result will be God’s glory. Expect it.

Jeff Hopper

July 19, 2011

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