Great Expectations

Hanama Bay

It’s that time of year again. The days are becoming shorter, the weather is cooling, and kids are headed back to school. Summer is ending and we are approaching a new season, Fall. For many like my wife Ezzy and I, Summer is when you take a vacation to relax. We chose to spend a week in Hawaii and this opportunity has developed expectancy for what the Fall may hold. We were on a tropical island, we swam with dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks (albeit the latter from the safety of a cage), and needless to say, the trip was filled with exciting memories! However, my newfound expectancy was inspired before we actually got to Hawaii.

On our drive to the airport, Ezzy and I began our adventure with prayer. I began thanking God for this being my fifth time to Hawaii and quickly became overwhelmed with emotion, pulled over, and sobbed. Frankly, recalling the memory now, I find myself tearing up. The fact that this was my fifth time going to Hawaii alone isn’t enough to cause me to act like that, so please allow me to provide some context.

I was born and raised in Stockton, CA. Stockton consistently ranks among the worst cities in crimes, violent crimes, and murders per capita. And I was raised in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Stockton. Evidence of this can be found in the life conditions of my childhood friends who are either in prison, in a gang, or dead because of violence. This is the type of environment that perpetuates dysfunction and despair and expectation is rare commodity.

Fortunately for my family, my mom accepted Jesus into her heart while we were at a homeless shelter. She quickly became a woman of faith. When there was little to no food in the fridge, my mom would thank the Lord in advance for His provision and He always came through! My mom taught us about hope and faith, things that were scarce in our neighborhood, and made sure that we always thanked God no matter what circumstances were like. We expected God to come through, and He always did.

We expected God to come through, and He always did.

In those days, I didn’t understand what a vacation was. My vacations weren’t characterized by what I “did” as much as what I “didn’t” do, as in I “didn’t” have to go to school. It was one of those Summer days where I learned from a TV show about a tropical paradise called Hawaii. This island was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was so beautiful and I immediately told my sisters that I was going to go there! As I got older and learned that many people went on vacation, that became a desire of mine as well. Now, back to our ride to the airport.

During the prayer I realized that not only were both desires filled, but also my desire to go to Hawaii once was exceeded far beyond what I could have ever expected. But being overwhelmed wasn’t about the opportunity to go to Hawaii five times; I was overwhelmed because the Father remembered that over two decades ago, I told my sisters that I wanted to go to Hawaii and He decided that He would bless me five times more than what I expected. (And this doesn’t even factor in how many times i may yet go in the future!) It made me feel so loved that He remembered. The odds of a kid from my neighborhood going to Hawaii at all, let alone five times, are pretty small. With God, small odds can become reality.

With God, small odds can become reality.

As Ezzy and I continued to the airport, I continued to cry. Holy Spirit quickened a verse to my memory and I recited it to my wife. It was Ephesians 3:20.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (NIV)

Psalms tells us that He knew us while we were in our mother’s womb. He knows everything there is to know about us and He doesn’t forget. This is why I have high expectations for the Fall and I believe that you can too. God is such a good Father Who is able, willing, and desiring to do the same for all of His children. My challenge to you is this:

  1. Remember and give God thanks for all He has done for you this Summer.
  2. Raise your expectations and view the Fall as an opportunity for God to exceed what you have imagined.

With those two steps down pat, you can’t go wrong! Trust God. He’s never been a respecter of persons before so He won’t start now!

Anthony Calabro

Anthony Calabro ministers nationally, serves as an associate evangelist with Sean Smith Ministries a.k.a. Pointblank International as well as locally at his home church in Oakland, CA as its Outreach Director. He grew up in a high crime neighborhood in Stockton, CA, which God used to cultivate a heart for inner-city ministry. Anthony became a 2-year graduate from Lakeview School of Ministry in 2001, graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in 2005 with his B.A. in Church Ministries, and became an ordained minister with Pointblank International in 2005. In 2013, he married the love of his life, Esra “Ezzy” Calabro. Since his conversion at the age of 6, Anthony has regularly been involved in evangelism and has remained active in the harvest fields of the inner-city. Anthony’s heart is to inspire new passion in people’s heart to relentlessly pursue intimacy with Christ. Anthony and his wife currently reside in San Ramon, CA.