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  • Will Johns

Expectations

Have you ever had a bad day? I have. A few weeks ago, it seemed like everything that could go wrong, was going wrong, and the next thing I knew my attitude was in the toilet. And yet, even as my feelings screamed at me that my life was falling apart, there was a voice in the back of my mind that spoke hope to me. I believe it was the voice of the Holy Spirit. And that calm voice said, "You are going to be OK." I knew I just needed to get through the day and tomorrow would be better. The minute I embraced the hope that the Holy Spirit gave me I felt better. I began to calm down. I accepted the fact that I might not feel great that day and that was OK. I trusted that God was still with me. 


This Psalm of David in Psalms 42:7-11 really captures my experience that day: 


"Deep calls to deep

    in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers

    have swept over me.

   By day the Lord directs his love,
   

at night his song is with me—
   

a prayer to the God of my life.

   I say to God my Rock,
   

“Why have you forgotten me?


Why must I go about mourning,
   

oppressed by the enemy?”
    

My bones suffer mortal agony
   

as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
   

“Where is your God?”

    Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   

Why so disturbed within me?


Put your hope in God,
   

for I will yet praise him,
   

my Savior and my God."



The trouble with expectations is that they are self-fulfilling. When we believe that our life is falling apart, often it begins to do just that. When we trust that God is with us and that things will work out in the end, they often do. Notice how David changes his expectations. He is focused on everything that is going wrong in his life and it clouds his mind with despair. But then he questions the downcast voice in his head. "Why, my soul, are you so downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." We can do this same thing whenever we are having a tough day. We can question the downcast voices in our heads. We can challenge the certainty of the negative story that is creating the negative feelings inside of us. And then, most importantly, we can put our hope in God. 


I believe that we all need hope in God right now. It is the most important action we can take. We need a hope that is strong and certain and that will carry us through whatever may come. I believe the Holy Spirit offers that hope to us, if we will listen for the Spirit's voice. And by so doing, we can change our expectations. We will no longer expect the worst to happen. We can expect God to show up in our lives and provide grace, healing, and joy that is beyond this world. When we expect God to show up we are much more likely to see God's hand in our lives.


And so I invite you this week, to put your hope in God. Question the voices of despair in your head and turn to God instead. Listen carefully for the Spirit's voice to bring you life and hope. May you expect God to work things out for you and through you.


May you experience the expectation of God's grace this week.

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