Today is Valentine’s Day and if you have a significant other, you may have some expectations of romance or hopes for what will happen on this day. You may expect a sweet card, some candy, or even a romantic proposal of marriage. But what if it doesn’t happen as you hope?
Our expectations are usually a bad thing. At least they are when we project them onto others. I assume or wish that someone will act in a certain way, and when I place this burden on other people, I’m often disappointed. Our selfish desires can fuel our expectations, and we can be left angry or sad.
What I Expect From Others
When I am selfishly thinking that my husband should compliment my new haircut or remember to empty the garbage, I will be hurt or annoyed when he doesn’t. I may expect my friends to pursue time with me and then be upset that they haven’t. Despite the fact that the phone does work both ways, I may place blame on them and our relationship may suffer.
We can have expectations of those in our church, our workplace, our neighborhood. We may assume that our Christian friends will act in perfect love and always be available to encourage us or meet our needs.
Having expectations of others is many times selfish and detrimental to the relationship. It often leads to anger, which is the doorway to bitterness.
What I Expect From God
But what about having expectations of God? I believe that He wants us to. In contrast to humans who often fail us, God always keeps His promises. It’s impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), so what He says He’ll do is a certainty. A promise from God is one we can stand on, a firm foundation especially in hard times.
And He wants us to come to Him with our needs, our desires, our hurts.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. I John 5:14-15 (NIV)
So What Can We Expect From God?
- Unfailing love that is deeper and richer than anything humans can give or experience. Unconditional, limitless, satisfying love.
- He is sanctifying us. He promises that He’s going to complete the work He started (Philippians 1:6) and isn’t giving up on us! He is a patient Father and His kindness is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
- Provision and peace. He tells us that He will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19) and give us peace (John 14:27).
- He’s building His kingdom. We may not always see what He’s doing in the world around us, but we can be confident that He will build His church and the gates of hell will not hold back what he’s doing (Matthew 16:18)! As we see evil around us, we must not be discouraged or afraid. Our God is more powerful and cannot be thwarted.
- He’s preparing a place for us to come and live with Him. Jesus tells us in John 14:1-3 that we shouldn’t be troubled or upset because He’s making preparations for us to dwell with Him forever. He also says that He is living within us right now! John 14:23 talks of the Holy Spirit making His home with us. He listens to us and hears us when we call.
In light of these promises, let’s rejoice in our glorious God who is on our side. Let’s keep asking him to change us, meet our needs, show his love and build his kingdom. He loves us and wants us to have great expectations of Him!