Tuesday, November 14, 2006

expectations

We live in life with many expectations. I suppose most of them we take for granted. But when they don't happen, such as our car getting us to work, then we can be quite unhappy. Other expectations are things that we anticipate in life. Such as finding a soul mate and getting married. Or landing the job we've been working towards in our education or training. Or expecting God to do certain things in our lives, based on our theological understanding of his Word, of him and his promises to us.

In Scot McKnight's book, The Real Mary, we find that Mary, as well as many of Jesus' followers during that time, had to work through unrealized expectations. In fact Jesus fulfilling God's promises as given to Mary by the angel Gabriel, as well as from her reading of Scripture as expressed in "the Magnificat", was not at all like Mary had envisioned. She tried to correct her son along the way. But instead had to learn to trust and follow him.

We too, as those in Jesus have "visions" and "dreams" of how things can, should and even will take place, especially when we're younger in our faith. But as we grow older, we begin to see some of these ideals and goals slip away. And what we encounter is not at all like what we had thought God would surely bring to pass.

But if we continue on, steadfast in our faith in God, in spite of, and even because of the unrealizations in life we encounter, we will begin to see God's hand and his grace on us. In ways we would not have predicted before. But we'll find that he and his promises are true. Even though this truth is different than what we had comprehended before, though the words are the same. We then seek and learn to line up our lives according to his working and revelation to us.

Is it good to have strong expectations, especially as one young in the faith (even as Mary did, as expressed in her song)? What is a part of our journey of faith in regard to those expectations? How has that played out in your own life?

5 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

It is rather like a marriage, isn't it? The good that comes is not what we expected it would be... especially the good that flows from sorrows and challenge.

Ted Gossard said...

Great thought, L.L. And one young couples do well to hear before they're married.

Thanks.

Andy Blanks said...

Gosh, Ted . . . That's a lofty one. For people like me who like to plan the next six-to-infinity steps in our life's journey, God consistently blows my expectations out of the water. The best laid plans I have put in place have been cast aside through tragedy, surprise, and blessing. I am only 29, and did not accept Christ until age 21. So, this is something I still learn. But recently I have allowed God to simply order my steps. My wife and I realized that God wants obedience. We commit to following, and He leads. We may be best entering into our faith journey with no expectations at all. There's no telling what God will do. See Abraham, Moses, Paul, Esther, Josiah, Peter . . . (the list goes on). Great thoughts.

Ted Gossard said...

Andy,

Thanks so much for your thoughts here. Very good.

Good to hear of you and your wife's walk and outlook in faith.

Also interesting to consider the Bible characters you mention, one by one. And to add more to them (such as from "the faith chapter" of Hebrews 11; as you say "the list goes on"). And to think of what possible expectations each of them may have had, or not had. And what they learned along the way.

Joseph in the OT is another interesting one. He did receive dreams from God early on. But would have never dreamed how they were going to be fulfilled. Does parallel Mary and her expectations in regard to her son. In that they weren't fulfilled as she expected.

Ted Gossard said...

Andy,

Your thought on having no expectations at all. I think there's plenty of wisdom there. In that we need to be open as to how God will fulfill the expectations he puts in our hearts.

Faith brings with it a vision of what God wants to do. It would so help us, if early on someone would, in discipling us, take us by the hand, and help us see that point. I'm sure it would save many a believer many a heartache. And may even stop a few from shipwrecking their faith.

Again, thanks.