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Great expectations – when what we get is not what we anticipated

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“They’ve got the name of these wrong,” said the elderly gentleman as he passed the coffee shop counter, pointing at the biscotti he’d opted for along with his cup of coffee.

“Oh?” The assistant smiled brightly in response. I could see her wondering what was coming next.

“Yes, they should be called Concrete,” he admonished, shaking his balding head in distaste.

She laughed lightly. “Oh, yes – they are quite hard, aren’t they? They’re Italian. That’s the way they make them.”

No doubt he had been eagerly anticipating the buttery chewiness of a McVitie’s Hobnob. Or perhaps even the spicy crunchiness of a ginger snap. But not… well, not what he got. Not an uber-crisp, fairly plain Italian biscuit that should be softened by dipping it in either strong and aromatic mid-morning coffee, or after-dinner fortified desert wine.

He trudged away, disappointment hanging about him like a heavy, ill-fitting coat.

So often in life it comes down to our expectations, doesn’t it? We have an image in our head of how circumstances should be, or of how things should turn out. But what we anticipate and what we end up with are often at odds.

It seems sometimes it’s that way in our walk with God too. And when things are not going the way we planned – in our relationships, our work or our ministry – we can become frustrated and disappointed. When God answers our prayers in ways we haven’t predicted, it can be challenging.

This weekend I baked my own biscotti.

Granted, I did know they would turn out really crunchy (due to being baked once in the shape of a loaf, then sliced and returned to the oven), and yes – what I got was different to the biscuits we usually eat in the UK.

But they were delicious in other ways… their little taste sensations of bitter chocolate, chewy cranberries, citrusy orange zest and almonds exploding through the plain but crunchy biscuit dough. And I could eat them relatively guilt-free because of a lack of butter and not too much sugar.

If God has presented you with something you least expected, something new and unfamiliar and not what you were hoping for, ask Him to show you the good in it. Ask Him for the grace to embrace it.

He just might lead you to new and wonderful discoveries.