When we are in relationship with humans we get to know each other, we find there are things we can count on. My son
hates loathes strawberries and bananas, my husband is the king of procrastination, my other son hates loathes sports and my daughter will lose her marbles if her brothers touch her blanket. Like clockwork, I can count on these things. Now sometimes, someone may surprise me but I can usually find the reason why the seemingly unexpected occurred.
From these relationships and my knowledge of personalities and environmental factors I have developed a set of expectations, like expecting that the house will not be clean when I come home from work, ahem. I even have expectations on stores, for instance when I go to the grocery store at 11:30 in the morning on a Saturday I expect it to be absolute torture and stupidity on my part. When I go out to eat and spend a small fortune on a meal I expect it to be good, I expect the service to be good and I expect to leave satisfied with my entire experience. When I am not satisfied with the food or the service, I get upset and I want something done about it. Now, when I go to a fast food joint and the food is subpar and the service matches I don’t have the same reaction as if the nice restaurant gave me mediocre food and service, why? Because my expectations were different.
Now, let me ask you, what expectations do you have of God? Do you expect Him to be angry with you? Do you expect Him to talk to you? Do you expect Him to accept you? What are you basing these expectations on? Someone’s sermon? A book you read? Your own interpretation of events? What happens when God doesn’t live up to your expectations? Or when you think He’s lived up to your negative expectations? Do we take that as truth?
So often when things happen in our lives that aren’t what we wanted or prayed for we get angry, frustrated and confused. We can’t possibly see how God’s answer of ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ could be a good thing. But God is good, right? Or when something bad happens we convince ourselves that, ‘God really is angry with me and He’s punishing me’. We’ve created a formula in our minds of what God is “suppose” to be like, what good looks like and how it should be played out in our lives. The fact that we’ve tried to fit God into a human formula of expectations and definitions should be our first clue that something is wrong.
There are many, many things about God that I don’t understand. In fact, the ratio of what I do understand to what I don’t is pretty lopsided. So now what? I need to tear up my self-made equations of how things should work out. I need to throw out my formula of how I think God should be. God cannot be wrapped up in an algorithm of ‘if this then that’. We must change our expectations to be based off of who He has told us He is instead of who we’ve made Him to be.
Talk to God and expect Him to hear and respond:
But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Psalm 66:19
If you want to know God, look to Jesus:
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! John 14:9
Allow Him to shape your thoughts and expectations:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
As we allow Him to shape our thoughts and understanding we release our expectations into His hands. Trust grows, peace increases and life is fuller.