Even before my first child, Hannah, was born I was praying over her and making great plans on how I would care for her precious life. I was obsessed as any soon to be new mom is with reading baby books and educating myself on the best way to care for her.
I had it all figured out too, I knew just how I wanted to hold her and how and when to nurse her. I knew how to properly secure her into the burrito wrap of a warm receiving blanket and just the way to lay her down so she would sleep safely and soundly. These are but a few of the many, unending ways that I would care for my little angel.
Seven years later I am still joyfully caring for Hannah’s every need, along with her brother, Robbie and sister, Isabelle. God has carefully placed the responsibility to care for these children into my hands and I am blessed every day by it.
It’s really no surprise that they have come to expect things from me. Every day I change them, bathe them, dress them, feed them and teach them. I define their daily schedules, when they will wake and sleep, eat and drink and play and learn. I am not the only one they expect to care for them. They also have expectations in their dad, family members and even friends.
Why? Because that’s all they’ve ever known, from the moment they were breathed into existence people have been caring for their needs, wants and desires. Oh, sure we teach them that God provides all of their needs, but do they really get it?
A bigger question is do “we” really get it?
Who are you holding responsible right now to meet the expectations in your life?
Psalm 62:5 in the New Living Translation says “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” Webster’s defines the word hope as to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence, to trust.
The King James Version of Psalm 62:5 says “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [is] from him.” Hope and expectation are used interchangeably in the two versions, they mean the same thing. To put your hope in God also means that you place your expectations in Him too.
We saw how easy it was from birth to naturally come to expect things from the people that love and care for us, so as Christians we must be diligent to never forget that it is and always will be God who fulfills all of our hopes and expectations. The people in our lives are only the vessel by which He chooses to use to perform the act of fulfilling all that we need and desire.
Dangerous things can happen when we expect people to meet our needs. We will more then likely find ourselves drowning in a sea of disappointment. Over time that disappointment will spill over into our hearts and a bitter root will spring to life and resentment rolls right in after it.
Bitter roots can be destructive to any relationship, but especially a marriage, often times bringing it to a slow and painful death from the inside out. Bitterness and resentment are rapidly growing weeds in our hearts that cover and strangle the fruits of the Spirit, they will literally snuff out love. Hebrews 12:15 tells us to “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many are defiled.” By placing our hope and expectations in the people we love we literally risk the health and life of our relationships. It’s careless and often costly.
If we rightly place our hope and expectations in the hands of our creator there is no one left to blame when they are unmet. By doing this we hold no person responsible for fulfilling our needs, we bypass anger, bitterness, resentment and our relationships are saved, love is allowed to live. That is good news! This is a great battle plan against the flesh and the devil.
The only way we can truly place our hopes and expectations in Gods hands is through prayer. God clearly asks us to “… not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Phil. 4:6) He’s not only waiting, but wanting to hear our every concern, our every desire our deepest needs. We can trust Him with our hopes and we can expect His very best plans for us.
The only right way to receive our unmet expectations is as an answer from God. Maybe it’s not the “Yes” that we hoped for, but it could simply mean “not now.” Sometimes it just means “no”, but because as Isaiah reminds us… “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) we can accept His answer and know “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding...” (Phil. 4:7) The assurance of answered prayer brings about precious longed-for peace.
Father, you are the awesome fulfiller of all that we need and desire. It is so easy to get off track by expecting others in this world to meet our needs. Forgive me for allowing any bitterness to take root in my heart, for risking the very relationships that you have handed to me as a gift. Help me to wait quietly and only upon you, my hope is in you and only you. Faithful God continue to allow me to veer off path so that you can keep rescuing me and revealing to me your precious and Holy Truth.