I’m not very good at hearing God speak. My life is loud and usually I can barely hear myself think let alone hear God. But God spoke to me recently in an unusual place. A 16 hour van ride with 5 kids and 2 grandparents is not where I would have expected to hear God. Me speaking (more like crying out) to Him, yes! But I didn’t expect the communication to be the other way around.
We took our family to Disney last month. It was a great trip with lots of memories made. My 3 older children had been before, but for the 2 younger ones it was the first time. And Benjamin, my 3 year old, was excited! I mean….Disney! It had been talked about for months, he had seen pictures of our last trip, and he knew he was in for a treat.
Now, Benji is 3 and he is one of the youngest of 5 siblings so his life is pretty small at this point. I mean, going to a new playground is a big deal for him. But his all-time favorite thing is riding on elevators and escalators. When you’re 3 this is a big deal. The buttons, the movement up and down, stepping on and off. It doesn’t get much better than that!
So now… Disney! We arrived at our hotel late and tried to quickly unload and get to settled to get some sleep before our first day at Magic Kingdom. Our room was on the 2nd floor so we used the elevator to load our stuff up. Benjamin was in heaven. He got to press the buttons and it was like, wow, “we’re at Disney!” He was ecstatic.
The next morning; what did he wake up talking about?….the elevator. “Are we going to ride the elevator again?” “Are there going to be more elevators?” “Can I press the buttons?” We kept telling him about all the rides he’d be able to go on at Disney and how those would be so much better than any elevator, but he wasn’t convinced. In his mind elevators were the best thing there was, the best thing he could imagine.
Well he got plenty of elevator time that trip, each day when we left and then returned to our hotel. But he did also make it onto his first roller coaster: thunder mountain railroad. He was nervous as we waited in line, and then getting into this train car and having a bar come down over his lap. But he loved it! He had a blast and was so proud that he rode his first roller coaster. His excitement over elevators never ceased though, even after his roller coaster experience.
On our long drive home I was thinking about this and I felt God giving me a spiritual lesson through this observation. I realized that so often we plod through life being excited over elevators. Elevators may be all we really know or maybe we’ve experienced a roller coaster here and there but have fallen back into the rut of expecting elevators.
What I mean is that we have such low expectations of God sometimes. We don’t really expect that He can answer that big prayer, or that He could do that big thing in our lives. So we settle for praying small things or just looking for small things, or maybe not looking at all.
Ephesians 3 says that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” It is good and right to be excited for the small things, to find joy in the elevators, but I picture God smiling at our excitement and saying, “Oh, just you wait for what I have in store for you!” Just like we knew what lay ahead for Benjamin at Disney. I believe God wants us to dream big about what He will do in our lives and in our families. He has roller coasters in store for us! I was convicted that my prayers are so small, they often revolve only around the here and now. But what excitement and anticipation I would have if I truly took God at His word that His will is for me to have life abundantly in Him (John 10:10) and that He is able to do more than I can even imagine.
Thankfully, His goodness and faithfulness do not depend on my expectations. But I do believe He takes joy in our faith and trust that He can and will do big things in our lives. He has more in store than we can see.
God is at work, even when all we can see are elevators.
Wife, Mom, Friend
Lauren is a dear sister in the Lord as well as sister-in-law to Eric and Leslee. She brings music and order to any event. She lives with her husband, Paul, and their five children in Charlottesville, VA.