Not too long ago I was preparing for my 15th wedding anniversary. I knew I was getting into those anniversary years where the stakes go up as far as the expectations Stephanie would have… so I went to work planning a romantic getaway weekend. I planned to drive our entire family to Alabama, drop the kids off at my mother’s house, and then head to Nashville for an anniversary getaway weekend.
There was a 4-star hotel in Nashville that we had stayed in before and Stephanie had commented on how much fun it would be to go to that hotel. It had indoor gardens, atriums, and all kinds of shows throughout the hotel. You could even take a romantic boat ride through the hotel atriums. I looked for Internet deals at the hotel and tried everyway I could to find the best deal for a room there for a few nights and ended up frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get an affordable price like we had gotten the last time.
So I started on a plan B. Hotwire.com. It’s an Internet site that sells rooms at hotels based on star ratings and location without telling you the name or brand of hotel. I started finding some amazing deals on 2.5-star hotels that were near the 4-star hotel. You see, I justified that we could stay there at ¼ the price and drive over to the 4-star hotel in the day and see the sights. I just knew that Dave Ramsey would be so proud of ability to find ways to save money on the trip.
I mean the 2.5 star hotel had free high-speed Internet; it was an all suite hotel, continental breakfast…it had to be nice, right? I researched as much as I could to determine which hotel it might be. They don’t tell you the exact hotel until after you have paid by credit card. When I finished the transaction on the Internet and saw the name of the hotel. I started to have a sinking feeling that I might have made a bad choice. But I continue to assure Stephanie that we were in for a great weekend anniversary getaway.
The day arrived for us to leave the kids at my mother’s house and we headed for Nashville. As I approached the exit for the hotel, that sinking feeling started coming over me again. The hotel that Hotwire had offered such an amazing deal on was not at all what I had hoped for. I checked in hoping for the best. The lobby was nice enough.
The whole time through check-in I was eyeing Stephanie because I knew she had expectations and an opinion about what was unfolding. It wasn’t looking good guys. We parked the car and located the room. The hotel was actually a motel and had each room door opening to the street. I went to open the door and it was already open. The lock was busted and the door had been cracked for quite some time. In the late June summer in Nashville the room was way over 80 degrees.
As I entered the room, I scanned it and I immediately was taken back by the original hotel room décor from the early 70s…with original carpet and fixtures… the room didn’t look like it had been cleaned in a while. My shoes stuck to the carpet as I walked into the room. I took a look at Stephanie and I knew there was only one thing left to do.
I pulled out my laptop, connected to that free wireless high-speed internet at the motel and looked up the number for the 4-star hotel and called and found a way to get a room there. I paid full price without batting an eye. The original hotel had not met either of our expectations, and I knew I was headed for a long weekend if I didn’t do something.
Our life is greatly affected by the expectations we hold. I can remember the great expectations that I held as a kid on Christmas morning and the amazing gifts that I was counting on Santa delivering to my house.
When I think back to that original Christmas night, I can’t help but rehearse some of the expectations that the average Israelite held. Rome was the oppressive world power and was placing heavy taxes on the Israelites and the people were hoping and expecting that the Messiah would come as a warrior king and free them from the oppression.
They weren’t expecting a Messiah to be born in Bethlehem to an unmarried couple who were housed in the worst and last motel in town… an animal stable.
They had set their expectations, but God had other plans. Amazing plans for a Messiah that would change the world.
I often find myself setting expectations for God in my own life, only to find that my expectations weren’t the same as His. But each time this happens, I come to realize that His plan was much better and complete that any expectations that I held.
Trust God in this season. Just as He had a plan for the birth of Jesus that stumped the people of that day, he has a plan for you…. A good plan. If you’re struggling in this season, be strengthened to know that God is working on your behalf and He’s going to blow your expectations away if you will look to Him and trust Him.
Now that’s something to expect.