Have you ever gotten something you’ve hoped for, something you’ve wanted for a long time, only to realize it’s a lot more than you bargained for?
Well, my husband recently bought some chickens.
SIXTEEN CHICKENS, to be exact.
Actually, he didn’t really buy the chickens; his company bought some property and the chickens came along with it.
Did I mention there are 16 chickens?!!
Now, I’m not going to lie… I was super excited. I have wanted chickens for YEARS and now my dream was finally coming true! Do you have any idea how many eggs our family goes through in a week? I transitioned to buying the “5 dozen Eggs” box from Costco about a year ago when my boys learned how to cook eggs by themselves. Having our own chickens seems like the perfect solution!
But there’s a problem.
Our neighborhood covenants do not allow us to have chickens. Oh, and the property where the chickens currently reside? It’s two hours south, on the other side of Atlanta from our home.
Yeah, that might be a challenge.
Sometimes something we really want ends up being a bit more than we bargained for.
When I was a senior in college, I got a car- a used Chevy Cavalier. It was silver and beautiful and all mine! I was so excited. And while it got me where I needed to go, we soon discovered there was a tiny hole in the oil tank which required me to refill it with oil every month or so, or I would ruin the engine.
Growing up, I always dreamed of marrying my handsome “prince” and living happily ever after, only to get married and find out marriage is actually more about denying yourself and doing everything in your power to make the other person happy.
It took us several years to have a baby, and after all the longing, I couldn’t wait to hold a little one in my arms. We were so happy when the Lord blessed us with Sarah! But it didn’t take long to realize that gaining a new addition also involved loooooong days, sleepless nights, and changing and sacrificing so much of how I was used to living my life.
The first house we bought had four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and I was in love with the yellow walls and the Berber carpet. We budgeted for new furniture, only to watch all the extras add up- rugs, shower curtains, appliances, a lawn mower… not to mention all the unexpected expenses when something broke down or needed replacing. It was a rude awakening!
I could keep going, but you get the point.
So often the things we long for bring with them way more than what we bargained for.
In 1 Samuel Chapter 8, the nation of Israel tells Samuel they are longing to be led by a king, just like all the nations around them. God orders Samuel to “warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” (v. 9) Samuel tries to explain to them that while they want a king to lead them in battle, it will bring a whole lot more than what they are expecting.
But the people insist, so the Lord answers, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
The Israelites end up with King Saul, who, though he starts off as the king they so desired, eventually disobeys the Lord, goes mad from jealousy of David, and loses the favor of God. He ends up being way more than they bargained for, and not in a good way.
Fast forward many years and the Israelites are longing for a Messiah. As in previous times, they are expecting one who will defend their cause and lead them in battle, making them the envy of the nations around them.
Instead, they get Jesus.
He did not lead them in battle or make them the envy of the nations around them. Instead, He led them in love. He forgave their sins. He laid down His life for them- not in battle, but on the cross, ushering in a new covenant with a promise of eternity.
In Jesus, they got way more than what they bargained for.
But in the best way.
“The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for, but we must believe that whatever it involves, it is good, acceptable, and perfect.” –Jim Elliot
Are you longing for something and growing weary of waiting? Or are you in the midst of something and finding it more than you bargained for? Maybe you got that new job, but didn’t expect it to be so hard/easy or boring/challenging. Maybe you wanted more time with your family, but didn’t realize how much patience it would require. Maybe, like Peter, you are stepping out in faith towards a dream and feeling overwhelmed by the size of the waves and the force of the wind.
In times like these, I find myself asking if what I’m pursuing is truly God’s will or simply my own selfish desires. When I’m honest, the answer usually comes pretty quickly.
And if I am pursuing the Lord’s will, then I must believe that whatever comes with it, even the hard stuff, is “good, acceptable, and perfect,” and will “work together for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 12:2, 8:28) If it’s not God’s will, I need to find a way to let it go.
Now, back to the chickens…
We are still determining what to do with them. Is it God’s will for us to keep them? Time will tell. They definitely came with some challenges!
But they also came with eggs...
A little more than we bargained for!