Keeping Our Expectations on God:
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”—Psalm 62:5
When we pray, we do so with hope. Hope that, firstly, God’s love is great enough that He cares what His creation says; and secondly, that He truly listens and will answer.
Yet, for all of us, there can still be moments and prayers where we do not enter in with expectation. Indeed, no matter how certainly we follow after God, all of us go through times where we feel as if He is not listening to us, let alone answering our prayers…
Sometimes these doubts stem from a belief that our prayer is ‘too big,’ or even, that we are somehow not worthy of an answer, but God ALWAYS answers prayer! At times the answer may be ‘no,’ or ‘wait,’ but He answers, and for our good. He never leaves us hanging.
Expectation is the KEY to blessing!
Coming before God expecting an answer is a sign of trust; a confirmation that He alone is God. That He holds our trust and hope…
Because we know He never changes!
Because His Word promises that He desires good for us!
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”—Hebrews 13:8
God desires to bless us beyond our ‘wildest’ imaginations! Yet, when we fail to go to Him; or go without the expectation of a favorable response, it is almost like we are not even asking. We are virtually praying with a counter expectation, one where we believe the outcome to be rejection.
Basically, we are telling ourselves before-hand not to expect anything from God… and that lack of joyful expectation can hold back the fulfillment of our requests. His promises! Because, part of the preparation for our next season is expectation—a belief that it will happen—so that we are ready to take on the new.
Expectation in the Waiting:
Even when we are able to go before God in expectation, the emotion we often associate with it can fade as time goes by. We can correlate too closely ‘delay’ and ‘no,’ treating the two as if they are the same… yet, often it is simply a mismatch of our wanted timing and God’s perfect timing.
There are times when we are not ready for a certain blessing, or season God promised us, and it is ‘delayed’ in our lives until we have the knowledge and character to receive it. Yet, even with this knowledge our flesh is often impatient. When something fails to happen when we desire it, we can take that as rejection and cease to expect it—becoming bitter—or, at the very least, lower our expectations.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”—Matthew 7:7-11
God has amazing plans for each and every one of us. However, when we cease to expect God’s goodness for our lives, we begin to settle… and settling is not part of God’s orchestration.
As God’s children, we are meant to expect the gifts and blessings of ‘King’s kids.’ To expect the blessings of being adopted by the Creator of the universe! Because we are loved of God we are called to be blessed and be blessings in return…
We are meant to expect God’s goodness!
Walking in Expectation:
To live in daily expectation is to be open to what God brings, and not be discouraged when things fail to go our way. Yet, it is also remembering that God desires us to be blessed and bless others; that we are to expect His goodness daily.
Sometimes the fruition of this expectation is shown through ‘simple’ everyday blessings…
Such as: getting your preferred parking space at the grocery store; finding a flower blossoming after a long winter; seeing a rainbow on your way to work; hearing your favorite song playing…
These are such simple things, yet, when we live expecting God’s goodness, they can become what they in essence are… love-notes from God. The very God who made us in His image and restored us to Him when we fell.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”—Genesis 1:26
Still, there are many times in our lives where the fruition of our expectation is shown in major ways…
For instance: through receiving a promotion at work; a word of knowledge confirming what God has told you; recognition of your efforts by those you respect; a prophecy coming to pass; a family member being restored…
All these examples are things that are hard to miss as being signs of God’s love and goodness, yet, when we are expecting God’s goodness they become even more powerful. The expectation opens our hearts and minds to God’s timing; it helps prepare us so there is no delay.
There will still be days where it is hard to see the goodness of God… not because it is somehow missing, but instead because our expectations do not align with His plans, or even because we simply do not have our eyes open to expect His goodness.
When those days come where nothing seems to go right… where you spill your coffee all over your white shirt halfway to an important meeting, lack time to even grab lunch, have your wallet stolen, and fail to meet your deadlines, it can seem as if God does not desire good for you. It can be hard to expect good things when every time you turn around something goes wrong…
Yet, God does not change. Even on the darkest days of our lives, when it feels as if our hearts might break, God desires good for us. He wants us to remember that and to expect His goodness.
The more we practice walking in expectation, the harder it is for us to lose our joy in the trials, in the ‘bad days’ we face!
Maintaining Expectant Hearts:
“Pain is temporary, but quitting is permanent.”
Since God does not change, there is no reason our expectations of Him should alter. Yet, as Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38 say, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We have to remind ourselves to expect good things from God. We have to remember to ask God to help us live expectantly. We have to soak ourselves in His Word so that we know and remember WHY we are to come before Him, living each day in expectation.
“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”—Philippians 1:19-21
If there were to be a list of things we ought to do to strengthen our hearts and increase our expectation in God it would likely include:
- Prayer and fellowship with God
- Thinking on the good things that have happened—blessings from God
- Spending time in His Word
- Having fellowship with Believers
- Sharing our testimonies of God’s goodness with others; listening to their testimonies in turn
- Obeying the Holy Spirit
- Reading/watching/listening to testimonies, devotionals, and other reminders of who God is
- Reading/watching/listening to messages from Pastors, Rabbis, and other spiritual leaders
- Keeping our eyes open to the beauty and goodness around us
- Sharing God’s kindness with others
When we remember what God has done for us, and others before. When we remember His Word and spread His love to others…
We open ourselves up to blessings. We open ourselves up to living every single day of our lives with the expectation and joy of His goodness!
Let us remember Jeremiah 29:11 with expectation,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”