Where are the dolphins?

Published 5:35 pm Friday, August 25, 2017

August has been a month filled with birthdays for our family:  Addyson celebrated her seventh, Madeline her ninth, and Mallory turned fourteen.  The question, “Where did all that time go?” is certainly one on my mind (I heard that Mallory is already planning to get a book from the DMV to study so she can take the test for her learner’s permit on her next birthday.  It seems such a short time ago that she was struggling to learn how to ride a bicycle, and now operating a car is emerging into the picture. Scary, indeed!).  All our little girls are excited to be able to move their age up by another year.  Eventually they will round that corner in which the growing number of birthdays will take on a much different meaning, but until then they need to enjoy the journey of moving toward adulthood—although when they arrive at that much anticipated destination it might not necessarily be as glorious as they expect it to be.  Until then I will try not to spoil their dreams.

One of Addy’s main requests for her birthday celebration was to go out on a tour boat to see the dolphins.  On the day before her birthday we headed toward the gulf to fulfill her wish.  The weather forecast leading up to that day was not too hopeful, but thankfully it turned out to be a lovely day.

The dolphin search was the last part of the trip; the kids were well worn by then after feeding the sea gulls and swimming in the beautiful salt water, but we all remained excited about what we were about to see.  I do not know what Addy’s mental picture was for the tour, but it was probably a bit different than reality.  As the tour boat slowly moved along, no dolphins appeared.  The boat captain was patient as he continued the search, and I dreaded it for Addy and the rest of the kids if the tour turned up devoid of dolphin sightings.  But the search slowly continued.

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I suppose that we have all had times in life when our expectations were not fulfilled as quickly as we thought they should be, or perhaps not at all.

And we know all too well the disappointment that can result from those unfulfilled expectations.  Nevertheless, we must not allow such disappointments to result in the loss of hope. Someone said that “We can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.”   

The remedy to be employed to help us maintain hope is to wait patiently in faith as we trust God to give the guidance and intervention that we need.  Sometimes what we think to be an unfulfilled expectation could simply be a delayed fulfillment; at other times our expectations might need to be adjusted so that they come into alignment with God’s plan for our lives.

Our prayer should be like that of King David as he called out to God:  “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.  In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:2-3, New International Version).

Patience paid off as we continued to search for dolphins.  Addy’s face brightened as one appeared; she became more delighted as others showed up and swam near the boat.  But the most priceless expression she gave was when one of them glided completely out of the water so that she got a full view of him. 

Addyson’s birthday expectation was fulfilled and I heard her say, “I want to do this again on my birthday next year!”  Trust God to fulfill great expectations in your life and let Him renew your hope in ways that only He can.