An Expectation Gone Awry

An Expectation Gone Awry December 30, 2022

It wasn’t the first time I felt mortified because of an expectation gone awry, but these circumstances made the sting really sting.

A friend asked me to play the hymns for their grandfather’s funeral.  Anthony and I have known this family for 20 years, and I felt honored to pay my respects this way. When I arrived at the church, I found a large, dilapidated hymnal missing its binding. I preferred the size of that book to my smaller hymnal, so used it to begin playing prelude. No problem.

As the opening song was announced—98, “I Need Thee Every Hour”— I flipped through the dilapidated hymnal, landed on hymn 97, and quickly began playing the hymn on the next page.

The chorister stood directly in my line of sight.  I saw her flip to the hymn index.  As I played the intro, I wondered why she was looking up the hymn number since it was on the song board behind us.  I glanced at the song board—everything seemed like it went into slow-motion as I continued playing the song intro. Hymn 98.  I glanced at the music.  Hymn 100.

Hymn 100!?!  Hymn 97 then Hymn 100.

an expectation gone awry Hymn 98 is missing from the hymnal

Hymn 98 didn’t exist.

I stopped playing.  Sometimes I can transition a little more smoothly, but not then. My expectation that 98 followed 97 was blown to smithereens and shook my reality a little bit. Also, I’m not really a fan of bungling hymns during funerals or drawing attention to myself at funerals.

I totally stopped playing and mumbled something no one else could even understand because they expected 98 to follow 97, too.  I quickly grabbed my trusty hymnal which I knew contained a hymn 98, turned to “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and played the correct intro.  Everyone sang.

Life throws us curve balls.  Sometimes things and people we believe will always be there just aren’t. Sometimes the page we’re counting on to be there just isn’t and that reality we expect is actually not real. It’s not true.

So what can I rely on to be real and true?

The missing hymn provided the answer.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;

Ev’ry hour I need thee!

Oh, bless me now, my Savior;

I come to thee!

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6.)

There have been so many things that I thought I knew that ended up being wrong and letting me down.  But one thing I know has never let me down—I can trust Jesus. My life tests that reality repeatedly and His truth is really real.

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