Thursday, October 13, 2016


“…So he(John the Baptist)sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Matthew 11: 2b-3

Today at church I talked to a 21 year old visitor who was church hunting. I asked her what she was looking for in a church and she replied, “I’m looking for a church with stained glass windows.” I could tell she had definite expectations what stained glass windows would do for her. Well, we all have expectations, don't we? We have expectations from our colleagues, church family, pastor, prayer and donor networks, parents, siblings, spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, …and, yes, even from God. Our expectations rise and fall in disappointment over and over. We expect more prayer, more financial support, more understanding, more validation, more encouragement, more mentoring,  more remembering us. And if we are honest – more honor. Our church or donors may expect more spiritual results from us.

We just received an email from a long term missionary friend whose financial support was dropped because "not much was happening". Ouch. We enter Muslim ministry expecting God to do great things. More phone calling from Muslims. More spiritual hunger. More signs and wonders and miracles. More people responding to the Good News. More transformation in the lives of believers. We yearn for something visible - like a Bible study group or even the formation of a church plant. New believers coming out of Islam have expectations from the church and their new community of brothers and sisters and from us. We expect certain books, dvd series, speakers, or conferences to give the answers and solutions to make our efforts to reach Muslims successful or fruitful.

Some exit Muslim ministry when their expectations wane or get dashed repeatedly. Or we may enter that dark tunnel of discouragement and resign ourselves to expect nothing. I have walked a long journey of experiencing some dashed expectations which have left me floundering at times with some pretty major unanswered questions. However that has ultimately been beneficial. For one thing it has made me dependent on God. Secondly, it has helped me to understand my Muslim friends who have had high expectations about their Islamic community, family, religion, friends, and new country of residence and then encountered disappointment. If I had not walked this path of dashed expectations I would not be able to help guide my Muslim friends and believers from Muslim background to find the Person who will never fail or disappoint us – Jesus, our wonderful Savior who exceeds all human expectations.

Dear heavenly Father, there You are waiting when my expectations in humans are dashed. Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.