What To Expect
So much of life is shaped by our expectations. A great deal of the pain and suffering we experience in life is caused not by the actual events of our lives, but by the expectations we carried into those moments. When our expectations are not met we respond with disappointment, resentment, anger, frustration, and loss of trust. It is one thing to respond to an event or another person in these ways, it is something completely different to respond to God in these ways.
There is no shortage of people on this planet who are disappoint with God, resentful of God, angry with God, frustrated with God, and have lost trust in God.
Why do they feel this way? And perhaps we have all felt this way, to varying degrees at different times. It happens because an event doesn’t conform with the image we have of God in our minds. How we imagine God should be and what we imagine God should do collide with the reality of God. Our expectations of God are not met.
Our expectations play an important role in life, and the expectations we have of life as a disciple of Jesus can support or destroy a life of faith.
Now let’s take a look at today’s difficult teaching.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
It is from John’s Gospel, chapter 15, verse 18.
Jesus describes a number of things we can expect in our quest to follow Him and share His life, love and message with the world. Persecution, hatred, and rejection are all part of the life we are called to live.
We would prefer a different type of Christianity, but whatever that may be, it’s not Christianity. And in the quest for a Christianity that does not require us to live the disciplined life of a disciple or suffer as Jesus forewarned that we would, we create expectations that will be crushed by the reality of life.
Today’s difficult teaching invites us to reflect on what our expectations are. What do we expect of ourselves, others, and God? Are these expectations aligned with reality? What do we expect life as a disciple to be like? Are these expectations likely to be disappointed, and if so, how could that potentially damage our faith?
Our expectations are often a futile effort to predict and control the future. This is especially true when they are built on the sandy foundations of human desire. If we are going to go down the road of expectation, let us base our expectations on The Rock of Jesus’ teachings.
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