I probably am going to be the biggest receiver of this lesson because it is hitting me very personally.
The words Expectations and Expectancy – God has been speaking to me about these for a while. My first teaching at Aglow a year ago was on Expectations and here I am still studying it.
There is a huge difference in the two words. I admit I tend to look to God with Expectations – well actually I tend to look around me at my family, friends, employer, pretty much everything with Expectations.
Expectations can either make or break you. We enter into every situation, relationship or event in life with expectations.
Definition of Expectation: Noun (person, place of thing – stationary word) – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. Synonyms: suppose, assume, presume, conjecture, surmise, calculate, predict… nothing about these words gives us the feeling that an expectation is 100% guaranteed.
When we or others do not live up to our expectations we get disillusioned. Expectations are a form of control, we feel we have the “right” to expect people to act a certain way and heaven help them if they do not! Our spouses, our children, our friends, our pastors, our God…
Looking at the word disillusioned – take off the prefix – ‘dis’ and we get the word ‘illusion’. What exactly is an illusion? Synonyms: false appearance, false belief, daydream, hocus-pocus, make-believe, mirage.
Our expectations are a delusion on our part, a daydream, or make-believe. We are setting ourselves and others up for absolute failure if we put our expectations in people or even in God.
It is basically an illusion – or magic, if you will. To live this way is a short path to disillusionment and often heart break. The only person you can control is yourself.
Definition of Expectancy - Verb (action word, moving)- an attitude of anticipation, eagerness, wonder
I have an expectancy that God is going to do something. In an expectation I believe God had better do something and it better look like what I think it should. In expectancy – God is going to do something and I wonder what His is up to or wonder how He will do it but I am confident that He is going to show up, I just do not know how.
The Book of Job in the Bible – at first glance we expect that it is a horrible story about a poor guy who loses everything. We cannot figure it out – we and back then, expect that if we “obey” God, God will Bless us – Job obeyed and it does not look like Job got blessed. As a matter of fact Job had a few friends that stayed with him through his ordeal reminding Job continuously that it was expected that if Job had obeyed God, Job would have been Blessed. Job was not blessed so they expected and told Job over and over that Job had to have disobeyed. At the end of the story we find out that Job did not disobey. Way to break an expectation!
The Book of Job is actually not about Job. Phillip Yancy first opened my eyes to this in his book “The Bible Jesus Read” that the Book of Job is a story about God. God and satan have a “contest” and God placed His expectancy on Job to prove to satan that God is worth loving no matter what. Job came through.
It is my favorite book of the Bible maybe because I relate to a lot of Jobs pain. But when I mention Job to most folks, they focus on Job, they do not see the bigger picture the behind the scene struggle between God and satan. That struggle is the ultimate point of the whole book – God is worth loving regardless if you are being blessed or feel cursed.
Most of us have had some kind of “Job” trials come into our life at some time or other. If we become bogged down by life’s problems and face them with expectations – we will surely be disillusioned. We put our expectation on God and even pray He will meet our expectations. We are trying to be in control of the situation this way. Us in control – not God.
If we face life with an “expectancy” – knowing that God is going to work things out – it becomes more of an anticipation and wondering what is going to happen and how God will work things out. Oh there will still be problems and struggles, but we face them not with discouragement, but with expectancy…
This was reinforced to me the other night when I watched the final session of our Aglow – Game Changer video. The speaker Graham Cooke does a mini skit – showing how to handle a crisis with an expectancy.
“Hey John, it’s Graham…..I am calling because something amazing happened today. Yeah, I got this problem. Hey, it looks really big. Yeah, I am super excited – like I am beside myself…. Yeah, it is like, I am looking and I am thinking, if the problem is that big, how much bigger is the promise and then how much bigger than the promise is the provision? Yeah, it is amazing, I am so super excited I wanted you to know. So how you doing anyway? You do not have a problem? One is bound to come, do not fret. Hey listen, do you want to share this one with me? No it would be cool. Come over and we will kind of work on it together and whatever blessing you get, that will be great. Yeah….”
Do we believe God is bigger than our problems?
Do we believe that God is not wringing His hands over our problems? That He has a solution, even if our eyes cannot see a way out or around our problem. The God who created the universe, who formed something out of nothing can handle it.
This is what I am learning – how to hold on with a much looser grip, a grip that says…
“Hey I have a problem. No it’s exciting, it’s really big. Yeah, I am pumped to see what God is going to do with it and how He is going to show up, it is going to be amazing, really amazing…”
Written by Jane Wheeler
Ray of Sunshine Ministries