Spiritual Listening Lesson 3–I DIDN’T EXPECT THAT!

Proverbs 16: 9 (NIV)

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.


And so now I had my hula hoop. The next morning I went down to the basement all excited about using the hula hoop as part of my exercise session. Finally, it was time to hula hoop. I slipped the hula hoop over my neck and positioned it on my waist and I whirled it and…  plop!

I didn’t expect that!

I stepped back inside the hula hoop a second time and twirled it and that thing just dropped to the floor like a bag of rocks—again and again and again… Still no luck but I did notice my heart rate was a little higher so that was good. The next morning I tried again with the same results. And the next morning and the next… Sure I knew it wouldn’t be easy relearning to hula hoop. I didn’t expect it to come to me as naturally as it did when I was ten years old. I thought it might take a week or even two before I was hula hooping. But even after a month or so, I wasn’t improving.

I didn’t expect that!

Life is like that as well. The unexpected happens. Life changes. A pandemic happens. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we won’t have bad things happen to us. But what it does mean is that when they happen, we have a choice.

A choice to react in such a way as to honor God or not.

That’s what happened to me in 2012.

In April of that year, I developed Bell’s palsy so my doctor decided I should have an MRI—just to be sure there wasn’t anything else going on. I thought it was a waste of time, but I did it. Then I got a phone message that said they saw some kind of a shadow on the MRI.

I didn’t expect that!

Turned out I had bilateral brain tumors called schwannomas or acoustic neuromas.

The good news was that they were benign. So no big deal, right? Wrong! Benign has two different meanings. One meaning non-cancerous and two meaning harmless. My tumors were non-cancerous, but there was nothing harmless about them. They wreaked havoc on my life and my health. So I had a choice—to honor God or not. I could choose anger; self-pity; bitterness; or I could choose to face this adversity in a godly way? I made a commitment to do my best to keep my eyes on Jesus, not on the brain tumors.

Anyway…Back to my hula-hoop. After several months of being completely unsuccessful, I had another choice.  Forget about it or keep trying. When is enough enough? When is it time to give in or give up in any specific situation? There’s no clear cut answer to that question. All I can tell you is that’s the time to pray, then listen for and listen to God’s still small voice.


This is an excerpt/summarization from GOD, LIFE, & HULA HOOPS. To buy the book or get it free with Kindle Unlimited, click on the link.




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