I have a certain opinion on the way things ought to be. Actually, I have a lot of opinions on how a lot of things ought to be. A good friend reminded me recently that my expectations will always compete with my faith and faithfulness. God is continually either beating my expecations or leaving them in the dust. Never in my life has God ever met my expectations.
The Scriptures illustrate this as well. Story after story we find God continually not acting the way people expect Him to. Pick a character from the Scriptures and discover how God either exceeds, thwarts, ignores, or redefines the expectations of believers and non-believers alike.
I went to a funeral on Tuesday. My friend, Josh, lost his father in a motorcycle accident last weekend. I’m sure he expected his father to be at his wedding. I’m sure he expected his father to be excited to be a grandfather some day. None of those are bad expectations to have – they are right and good. However, if Josh clings to those in the face of his tragic reality – he will not be able to keep his faith in the God who didn’t meet his expectations.
The same holds true in my marriage, in my role as a father, in my job, and at my church. If I am unwilling to follow Jesus out of my expectations in any of these areas, I am unwilling to follow Him at all. Ironically, following him out of my expectations is far easier than what I try to do instead.
I live in a world where my expectations are king. I expect to be treated with respect when I check out at the grocery store (or else I’ll take my business elsewhere). I expect to see my daughter get married some day (it would be tragic if I did not). I expect my bosses and elders to not make mistakes (giving me the right to chew them out if they do). I expect people not to be stupid, lazy, or in my way (I yell at them if they are). I expect my dog to obey my voice immediately (or he’ll get a whooping if he doesn’t). I expect my wife to keep the house clean (and take it personally when it’s dirty). Why would I treat God any differently?
Thank you, Lord, for never meeting my expectations and for not treating me the way I expect you to treat me. Were it so, you would not be my God. I would be god and You – my slave.