Friday, December 08, 2006

Expectations: An Application of Phil 2

In our recent Sunday morning messages we have been learning from Philippians 2:5-11. I recently came across a powerful application of this passage. This week I read a moving article by Cari Kilcup entitled "When Expectations Go Unmet, God is There: My Stillbirth Story." Mrs. Kilcup opened by writing:

"Death is not supposed to precede birth, is it? We certainly do not expect it to. Sometimes expectations go unmet. When they are, God is there offering His strong, loving arms to carry us through.
"This past April I was 'expecting.' It's interesting that we use that word to describe a pregnant woman, because that's what I was doing. I was expecting to experience ... that in a few weeks I would meet the precious little one whom God had placed in my womb."

She went on to relate the story of how the baby in her womb, a little girl, had died from a knotted umbilical cord. She told of the difficult process of delivering her dead child, saying, "We left the hospital...with an empty womb, empty arms, and broken hearts, but our Lord was with us...." But she also told of how the Lord taught her through the Scriptures in this trial.

"Sometime later God showed me something about expectations. I realized that my expectations are things that I feel I have a right to. Philippians 2:7 tells us that Jesus gave up His rights as God, and took the humble position of a slave, even submitting Himself obediently to death! If my Jesus, the one Who holds the rights to everything, gave up those rights for me, I must be willing to let go of my rights, my expectations. I need to place them in the gentle hands of the One who has a better plan for me. I have had to do that again this year - in September another baby was born to heaven through miscarriage.
"We all have expectations, and many are realized. When they are not, God is still there, offering His love, support and comfort and He guides us down the path He has laid out for us. When we die to our expectations, we find new life in Christ...."

This is what it means to have the mindset of Christ. It was the reason the apostle Paul's joy oozes between every line of the letter to the Philippians. For him, to live was Christ and to die was gain. He gave up everything (including his expectations) for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus the Lord. Oh that all of us would give our expectations to God, and know the surpassing joy of knowing Christ!
As a post script to this, I will share with you a poem written by one of my seminary friends, Will Pareja, whose child died in the womb.
The Broken Arrow
Dirge for Nicolas Augusto Pareja
Ps 127:4-5; Prov 13:12; Lam 3:13; Job 1:20; 6:4; Ps 119:68

Two warriors envisioned a quiver of children,
Of pointed arrows shot in obscure night.
Poised for alarm and prepared to fight,
They longed for the time when bows bent.

Overjoyed were they by the Maker’s first arrow
Given to them across the Big River. [Forgive the intrusion here. Their first son was born in Mexico, on the other side of the "Rio Grande." JP]
Desire blazed to again fill the quiver,
But not with grief that would bring them so low.

Marked was the quiver for the second of shots,
To fill the desired place.
Yet outside of time and space,
The Great Giver set in motion his eternal tho’ts.

To their racking woe, the Maker snuffed out
The life of their second born son.
“A dream?,” they tho’t—no, they were undone
Holding the broken arrow they would no longer tout.

The wounds of divine severity— though rarely pleasant—
Are lathered in the balm of God’s mercy.
Good Giver of life, we bow the knee
In adoration of your wisdom and right to reclaim our infant.


Anonymous said...

These words are so true. I believe that this is what the Lord has continually been showing me, even this morning as I have studied the sermon on the mount. We are not our own. We live in a world that tells us that we "deserve" whatever it is that we desire, and yet the Lord graciously shows us that we must only desire HIm. It is only as we keep Him in our thoughts and sight all day long, that we are satisfied. I do not have many of the things that I have wanted, and desired, but the Lord has given me more of HIm as I become more detached from my wants and so called needs. All we need is to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" and then let Him give us what we need as He sees fit. Not husband, wife, children are to be our first priority, and if they are, He may in great wisdom and love rip them from us. In LOVE

Jason Parker said...

Thanks for your comment. It is great to hear how the Lord has been teaching you this truth.