untoward expectations

Often I think we live in life with untoward expectations, untoward in the sense of unrealistic. And in so doing we can find pride rearing its ugly head. We think we deserve better, or that we stand out in some way. Well, everyone does stand out in some way, since we’re all made in God’s image, each one of us uniquely so. We also each and everyone have our place. It may be a humble place, which in itself is a possibly deceptive thought since in God’s kingdom what is humble is exalted and what is exalted in this world’s estimation ends up being humbled.

Who doesn’t want to do well in life and receive some sort of recognition for that? But just what does that look like in terms of following and likeness to the Master? Did Jesus look good? Certainly not to everyone. Jesus in his life revolutionized goodness, to be sure. We might say he showed us what true goodness looks like, what its fulfillment is. In this life that is necessarily different in that we find in Jesus that we must take the way of the cross. That is the way of death and resurrection, worked out in all kinds of ways in our lives. Certainly in terms of leaving our expectations in God’s hands, so that perhaps God might change them.

Untoward expectation presents problems in all of life. Parents toward children and vice-versa. Spouses toward each other. Employees and employers. Churches toward pastors and pastors toward churches. We could go on and on.

The point in the end is not to expect nothing. I remember in the office of a pastor and teacher a sign something like this: “Expect nothing, and you will not be disappointed.” No. It is looking to God for our expectations, and in time finding new expectations altogether. And hoping others might see, not us, but Jesus in our lives. Not to be attracted to what is good about us, so that it’s all about us. But that we all might be drawn to God, that we might seek him.