High hopes, great expectations and mistaken assumptions

Playl's Ponderings

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Before our daughter, Stacia, moved to Mt Juliet in the suburbs of Nashville, she was visiting the Playl Juniors. Grayson and Anderson were  lavishing the extra attention. Anderson, especially, liked having Aunt Stacia and her boxer around, and he assumed they were moving into the guest room indefinitely. 

So when our stinking cute grandson learned that she was house hunting, it broke his 7-year-old heart, and, through his tears, he begged for an answer. 

“Why can’t you just live with us?” he sobbed.

“Well, I really need my own place,” she answered. “Besides, I’ll just be a few minutes away...and...the house I’m looking at is very close to Chuck-E-Cheese.”

In case you’re not familiar with Chuck-E-Cheese, it’s a children’s game factory that serves pizza, on the side, so parents can force their kids to eat a bite before the games begin. Works for grandparents and aunts, too.

Anderson’s tears dried up immediately, and he squealed with glee, “Oh, boy! That means every time we come to your house, we get to go to Chuck-E-Cheese!”

Stacia immediately visualized dollar signs vaporizing into bags filled with tokens for the game machines. “Well...we’ll see...”

After Stacia moved - in fact, just last week - Stacia was over to the boys’ house for dinner and had excused herself to “powder her nose,” when she overheard a discussion between the boys. It went something like this:

Anderson, in a sad, worried voice: “Did Aunt Stacia leave?”

Grayson: “No, she’s staying for supper.”

A: “Oh, good! Do you think maybe she might move in with us?”

G: “NO!”

A: “Why not?”

G: “That would really be weird. She has her own house!”

This time Anderson controlled his emotions and held back the tears, but he was quite clearly disappointed. Obviously, he hasn’t given up on the idea of having his aunt for a nanny, maybe like Mary Poppins or something.

Scripture says, “A little child shall lead them...” and again we can all learn something from the innocent attitude of a child, if we will simply pay attention.

Thinking positive and believing good things can happen is the best of attitudes to have. In a spiritual sense, we would be wise to follow the advice of William Carey, who said we should, “...expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

On the other hand, we sometimes need someone older and wiser to help us balance our optimism and keep our assumptions in check; like, maybe, a brother with two years more of real life experience, who will say, “That would really be weird.”

I prefer the “glass half-full” attitude most of the time, though. I believe we should have high hopes and great expectations, and we should never give up. We should hope...and pray...for the best scenario in any given situation.

James tells us “...you have not because you do not ask God...”

Jesus said, “...ask and you shall receive that you may have the fullness of joy...”

William Carey’s complete quote says, “Many can do nothing but pray, and prayer is perhaps the only thing in which Christians of all denominations can cordially, and unreservedly unite; but in this we may all be one, and in this the strictest unanimity ought to prevail. Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

We should have high hopes and great expectations. We should ask and pray in faith, believing, then leave the results to God without assuming that we always know what is best.

Steve Playl, retired pastor and chaplain, columnist and college instructor, may be reached at playlsr@yahoo.com  

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