Lately I have spent several hours talking with various different people all who have what seems on the surface like different issues but at the heart of it all is one little word expectation. OK so the word isn't that little and even bigger is the issue. When people say how can a loving God allow such and such or why didn't God stop this or that or heal or do or say something, what they are really asking is why didn't God do what I expected him to do? We all have this problem to a certain extinct. Let me show mine to help you think about yours. Here I sit writing and talking about God on a regular basis, I have started a couple of ministries this year based on what I thought I heard God saying and just when things were starting to look like I actually would get to see the results of all this seed planting my physical condition worsens. I had a doctors appointment with my new specialist this week who dropped the proverbial bomb on me. To manage my condition I am having my immune system completely repressed. Under his orders I need to stay away from the general public and not have people outside of my immediate family around me because I am now subsectable to every germ and illness there is. So how can I prayer walk? How can I run a church? How can I see Habakkuk 1:5 come to pass. And then God placed several people in my online life who are going through expectations of their own. Some simple like I thought ministry would be easier; to the very hard like, If God is real how could he let me be gang raped? As I looked at all of them and even my own situation I realized that everyone of us had an expectation of Who God was or what he should do.
Take a moment right now and examine your own life and you will realize that some where in your life and beliefs you have an expectation of who God is or what He does. We all do, so what happens when God doesn't "live up" to our expectations? One of three things happen 1. We get angry at God or ourselves. I have seen it. This response shows itself in several ways we blame God for the thing that didn't happen the way we thought it would. An example the parents of a young lady who was raped have expressed to me the following statement " I ask God daily to protect my family so how come he didn't keep my daughter from getting hurt?" The expectation is that protection is nothing bad will happen no matter what. The reality of the situation is that the young lady could have been killed as well as raped so how can we say that God didn't protect her? When I mentioned this to the mother her response was it isn't enough for her to be alive he let her be hurt. See when it comes to blame nothing can overcome at that point.
2. God doesn't exist This one is very common the proof that God doesn't exist is that he didn't preform in the way we expect. Another young lady who has been involved in ministries I have been part of informed me that she didn't believe in God anymore because of two reasons the following is an exact quote from her. First in may I was raped by three different guys if God really existed he knew that I was saving my virginity for marriage and he should have saved me from losing the one thing that i was saving. Also if he exists and you work for him why doesn't he heal you? How can he allow you to have such a life threatening illness. If he exists he would keep you well. This is how I know God doesn't exist.
So how do you answer this reaction no matter what you say in the face of this expectation you can't change the expectation that God cant exist if evil and pain exist. Nothing one can say will ever change a closed and made up mind.
3. This response is the one that is the least likely to happen. You change your expectation. This is where I am at I am trying to realize that what I thought God was saying was my expectation not God's plan. God's plan will fulfill itself Jeremiah 29:11 says " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Some how this illness which seems to harm the plan of my life is not going to bring harm it is going to bring hope and a future. How can you be so sure Because despite what I expected I know that God is true to his word. He says in Isaiah 55:6-11 " Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Gods word will not return without accomplishing the purpose he sent it to accomplish. If we take these words of God to heart and apply them to our expectations then we realize when it seems that God is not living up to what we expect that our expectation of result is not his expectation of result. Since God doesn't change we must. That's where I sit right now trying to change my expectations. Take a look at yours and think about it.