Expectations

We have too many expectations. I believe that for some, it almost cripples their faith. We are taught to expect such and such from God based on a variety of factors. We are taught that if we apply X amount of faith to Y we will receive Z. This is a recipe for both disappointment, and some terrible misconceptions about God.

Let me be incredibly clear here. God doesn’t need you, or I, or anyone else. He doesn’t need our prayers, He doesn’t need our worship, and He most definitely doesn’t need our help; but that does not mean that He does not desire them, or that doing those things does not help us. Worship, prayer, and spiritual discipline help us tremendously, but only because they soften our heart enough for God to mold it without affecting our free will, not because it positions us closer to “a blessing.”

Sometimes I feel like that we evangelical Christians have turned Jesus into a slot machine savior. We offer a token prayer, insert our coin, and pull the lever; waiting for the holy signs in our life to line up just right to read JACKPOT. Sometimes something incredible happens, and like a gambling addict we go back to serving up our approximation of praise so that we might somehow profit. This leads to a perplexing emotional roller coaster that is mentally, physically, and spiritually unhealthy. Because inevitably, when the results aren’t what we were expecting we are met with colossal disappointment.

Again, let me be clear. When God chooses to do something in our life, whatever way it may come to be, it is because He, and only He is good. If you have come into a financial blessing, it’s not because you were a good little tither and wrote your check for your ten percent. It is because God’s resources are unlimited, and He will bless, who He will bless. If you were sick and He made you better, it’s because it somehow fit into His sovereign plan, resulting in His glorification.

My son is now at the age, where he undoubtedly knows mommy and daddy. He giggles more, smiles more, and jabbers more, with us than he does with anyone else. Why? Because at this stage, all he knows is unbridled affection for those that he loves. He has basic needs, but no contemplative concern for how those may be met. He has wants, but no assuming nature. All he has for mom and dad is an unfettered innocent love. He expects us to take care of him, in as much as his developing mind can comprehend such a thing, but he has no cognitive capacity for the details, nor does he yet have the mental faculty to formulate a cockamamie plan for producing those details.

Why aren’t we like that? Why can’t we simply be satisfied with letting God be, and expecting that He has it all well in hand. The simple fact of the matter is that whatever your issue, desire, or need may be–God is already there, Has already been there, and in fact is still there. Time has no affect on the immutable Creator. The day of the week does not alter His proximity to your life, anymore than your haircut, or the decibel level of your singing does.

Some of us really need to bring our expectations back into check. I know I do. We need to do good for the sake of honoring our Heavenly Dad and loving the people around us. That’s what He expects from us. Stop sweating the details, stop assuming we can help, and especially stop expecting Him to fulfill our expansive spiritual (or literal) wish list.

God is. That’s what He told Moses on the mountain. That alone should be enough. Anything else is the gift of a good Father to His beloved children.

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