Life is filled with expectations! However, many times they go unmet and yet God continues to bless and provide. This Advent, some of our Messiah staff will share stories of times when their life expectations were not met and yet God worked through the situation anyway. We pray these stories will encourage you as we think about What to Expect...When You're Expecting! Let’s prepare our hearts and homes for Jesus, the best unexpected blessing we will ever receive!!

God's Wy Is Always the Best Way

Dustin Lappe | Associate Pastor

My seminary experience was four years. For the first two, you’re taking classes. The third year, though, is called vicarage. It’s really an internship year for someone studying to be a pastor. Leading up to that experience, I was told that the placement director would ask two questions: “Where do you want to go? And, where don’t you want to go?” I was told to be cautious when answering those questions. Because wherever you said you didn’t want to go, that’s where you’d end up. I refused to believe that this was true. Why would they ask where you don’t want to go, only to send you there for an entire year of your life? 

When Trudi and I met with the placement director, there was some small talk. But then came the questions. We shared how growing up on farms in Minnesota and Nebraska, along with attending college at Concordia in Seward, and then teaching in Alaska; we believed it had all prepared us for having a vicarage assignment somewhere North. Where we didn’t want to go was anywhere hot.

Jump forward to placement day at the Seminary: The service is held in the chapel. Students sit together as a class in alphabetical order. The wives sit with family in the back. When your name is called, you then come forward to learn where you will be spending one year of your life. After announcing my name, what followed was: “Christ Greenfield Lutheran Church and School, Gilbert, Arizona.”

Arizona!?! While I wasn’t a straight-A-student, I was descent. And what I remember from geography is that Arizona is definitely South. Like, in the middle of the desert South. We’re talking 120 degrees in the summer South. And for a boy from Minnesota and girl from Nebraska we were certain that we would melt. Fast forward, now, to the end of our vicarage year: It was then that Trudi and I realized that God knew exactly what He was doing. Even though it was hot at times, we didn’t melt. In fact, we thrived! We had such a great experience! So much so, that at the end of our fourth year at the Seminary our vicarage congregation called us back. And this time, in a strange sort of way, it felt like Trudi and I were going home. It was all, so... unexpected.

I think every one of us has times where we think our way is what’s best. But then God does something unexpected. And in the end it turns out to be better than we could have ever imagined. Living as God’s children means that we trust Him, believing that His thoughts and His ways are truly better than ours, and that He really does want what is best for us.

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Heavenly Father, help me to see that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than my ways and Your thoughts than my thoughts, and that’s a good thing. Thank You for all that You do, including the unexpected. Through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, create in me a heart that believes that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

These devotionals are being sent to all Messiah members every day during Advent.  If you do not wish to receive the devotionals, please click here.

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