Catching Up w/ Kaleigh: When God Doesn’t Show Up Like You Hoped He Would

By Kaleigh Ward |

Blind eyes opened.  Lame feet walking.  Death to life.  Visions for strangers.  Prophetic words for friends.  Sitting in the Lord’s presence often, overwhelmed by His power and the intimacy we share.

That’s what I expected life on the World Race to be like.

Instead, I find myself struggling to stay awake and focused in my morning quiet times before going out to work, where I spend the day scraping old paint or applying new paint.

Don’t get me wrong; our work isn’t meaningless.  As we give this orphanage a princess make-over, we are showing these girls that they are special, that they are seen and noticed, that their desires matter.

But our work isn’t glamorous, and I’m not exactly bringing in droves of people to the Kingdom.  In fact, due to language barriers and Vietnamese laws, I haven’t been able to share the Gospel with a single soul.

On top of that, my personal time with the Lord has been frustrating for the entire duration of my race so far.  I want incredible intimacy.  I want to hear His voice.  I want to see visions that reveal His love for me and those around me.

Those things haven’t really happened.

And in my three months on the race, those unmet expectations– of spiritual sparkle in my ministry and my personal walk– have brought up all sorts of emotions in me.  Anger.  Bitterness.  Hurt.  Sadness.  Fear.  Doubt.  Resignation.  Hunger.  Surrender.

Lately, I have decided to choose to worship, choose to pray, choose to glorify even though the Lord hasn’t met my expectations, even though I haven’t gotten the intimacy and power I’ve longed for, even though I don’t understand why He called me to the other side of the world to paint for a month straight.

I’ve reminded my soul that He is worthy of my praise and love because of who He is, regardless of which ways He is or is not working in and through me at the moment.

I decided to quit looking at all the ways He isn’t showing up and praise Him for the ways He is.

He isn’t performing attention-grabbing miracles or radically showing His love for me in my morning devotionals.

But He is answering my prayers specifically and in love.  He is providing me with meaningful friendships that encourage and challenge and motivate me.  He is blessing me with delicious food and my own bed and A/C and wifi and hot showers.  He is inviting me to a beautiful beach town to escape from city life, play volleyball on the beach, and take bike rides through quiet streets.

He isn’t showing up in a column of smoke and fire, but in the little moments throughout the day.  I just have to choose gratitude in order to see Him.

After three months of asking God, “Why? Why? Why?”, I have finally quieted down and chosen gratitude.  And as I have done that, God has finally answered me, revealing one of the reasons He has allowed those expectations for spiritual “wow”s to go unmet.

When I get home from the race, I want to be an employee, a member of the local church, a wife, and a mother.  While there will certainly be moments in my life where God works in and around me in a “wow” kind of way and I get to see miracles and experience radical revelation, that is not what most days will look like.

For the rest of my life, most days will look like choosing to get up when the alarm goes off in order to start my day spending time with the Father.  Most days will look like going to work and doing my work to the best of my ability and with a positive attitude.  Most days will look like vacuuming the house or preparing dinner or changing diapers.

Most days will look like choosing worship and praise and prayer because of who I know God to be, rather than because of the glamorous life I am getting to live.

God is using this time to prepare me for that time.

He is teaching me how to trust Him, how to find Him even in monotony, how to praise Him when I don’t understand what He is doing, how to choose joy when life gets difficult, how to commit to devotional time even when it isn’t exciting, how to let every season grow and shape me.

The Lord showed me this morning that if He had said “yes” to my prayers for radical miracles and unforgettable quiet times, then I would have come to believe that my life was only meaningful and my work only valuable when I was continually being spiritually wowed.

I would have returned home to the life God planned for me and felt disappointed or useless or worthless because my life was no longer a grand exciting show of His power.

Instead, because of the season God is walking me through, because of my unmet expectations, I am learning how to see Him and love Him and glorify Him even in the most monotonous of days.  I am learning that all work is important, even if it isn’t especially attention-grabbing.  I am seeing that there is great value in showing up each day and choosing joy, choosing love, choosing in.

I am learning that God isn’t just in the pillar of fire, but He is in every moment of every day, shaping my heart and life for my good and His glory.

Though I have not seen Him
my heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ the Lamb
the Lord of Heaven

I will be with one I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

My good friend Kaleigh is on The World Race, a mission trip to 11 countries in 11 months. Check back for updates from around the world! Follow Kaleigh’s World Race Blog. — Tiffany

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