Ask a child in December if he or she is excited about Christmas and you’ll often be met with eyes displaying anticipation and expectation. (Then ask me! I’ve been playing Christmas music for months!) Anticipation is a beautiful thing. Expectation, though, is a weightier word; it contains that word “expect” in it, which means we really expect that a certain something will happen.

Expectation is often more of an ugly word for me. It isn’t that I can’t recognize its beauty, but it simply hasn’t been a very helpful guest in my life.

It whispers of not measuring up, of what I should be doing or what I should be that I am not, of what others need or want that surely I am not providing – or at least not providing in the way I EXPECT myself to. The list goes on. Can anyone identify? If we expect the most out of anyone, isn’t it usually ourselves? And are we not terribly difficult to please? This kind of expectation is exhausting. It’s not only exhausting; it’s sinful. It fixes my gaze on MYSELF rather than on Christ and what He has done to release me from such chains.

This season, I expected my son home a few days ago from his first few months at boarding school. He is currently with my husband, waiting in Tunisia, unable to get in the country due to paperwork. The one individual who is apparently the only one in the entire country who can sign off hasn’t come into work for nearly a week. Don’t get me started. Didn’t I say before I agreed to this whole boarding school thing that this could happen? I peeled potatoes that now wait in my refrigerator for the Thanksgiving that is on hold.

Could the world just stop spinning and acknowledge that it isn’t right because my son isn’t home like I EXPECTED? Of course I miss him and am eager to see him, but the nagging struggle it unearthed boils down to my frustration over things not going as I expected.

Expectations are dangerous when misplaced. If they are placed in me, my husband, kids, friends or any other place than the safety of the Father, they will ultimately at some point be met with disappointment.

Nearly two years ago, Jesus whispered something so precious to me in preparation for the time and events that have happened since then. Because He CAN be completely trusted, He embedded this promise in my heart in advance: “I am the Father who NEVER DISAPPOINTS.” This is it.

When my expectations lie in Him, I am never disappointed.

And thinking of this truth, the wind that was knocked out of my sails once again catches His breath and I can breathe again.

Advent. I confess I have not understood it very well, much less observed it very well. In reading both the kids and adult version of Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift for a second time this year, the light is slowly dawning. It is all about EXPECTATION. This waiting and longing for a Savior – and it is more than just anticipating, it is assured – we know it’s coming! He came and He still continues to come to me in my mess, to you in yours. Exceeding all expectation, He comes.

Tonight He has come to my heart. This frustrated and dented heart. What an incredible thought. How incredible to be His.

I have not met my expectations of myself for handling this trial. But Jesus speaks grace, He never disappoints. The situation still remains unresolved and far from what I expected. But then, beauty. He comes to me (and to you) before the answer comes, before the problem is solved. Oh, how I yearn to KNOW HIM in it all. I can expect that He will be enough, that His grace covers us all, that He will be faithful even when things aren’t going according to plan.

This season He is redefining expectation for me. To long for Him. To anticipate His coming.

Advent. The words to the Christmas carol echo: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”Met in Thee, met in Thee, met in Thee. Dear friend, all I need is met in Him and without knowing what you are facing, I am absolutely certain that all you need is met in Him as well. Let our expectations be placed in Him alone. He will never, NEVER disappoint. I pray you have a blessed Advent, full of expectation.

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