Google’s dictionary defines expectations as “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” So basically, we try to tell the future by predicting from some past event. Yesterday I predicted that my day would be boring because the day before I had no projects at work. I fought a pout all day long. Today I expected more activity and engaged with other people, so my expectations for tomorrow have also improved. It is like the weather forecast – it keeps changing. But just like the weather, my forecasting often STINKS!
I expect good or bad, and a few hours can make all the difference in what actually happens. It is just like in James where he says that someone who asks God for wisdom,
” 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Back and forth and up and down. It is a shame when we live like this! Expectations can flip faster than a gold-medal gymnast, and make good tyrants if you let them control your life.
So what does God expect of us? Well, Micah 6:8 always comes to mind:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Mortal: very human, very short-sighted. God directs a different action than society. But this perspective adds stability to our lives, like ballast to an ocean ship.
Of course, people will be mad at our perspective. Jesus said we can expect persecution for this way of life:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
They do not get it, they seek a different lifestyle, their own control. But we can show them a life that bases expectations on more than just the weather and my appetite. God has blessed me, despite this slow day. I know my life will have problems, but I know He will be there to help me get through them better than I entered. And that is the hope that we have. God has higher expectations for us than we care to imagine, and He has raised the roof on our expectations by describing a taste of heaven in the Bible.
God, thank You for exceeding all my expectations. That is a truly amazing feeling that I forget to savor. Thank You that I do not have to live under the dictatorship of conflicting emotions. Thank You that the forecast for my day can be based in a reality that You set, rather than my inexperienced predictions of the future. God, You are good! To You be the glory! Please help me live out my life expecting to see You at work. Amen.