Scrolling down on my online shopping app, I think to myself “Now, that would look great on me, maybe I can pair it with this and then add that. It will be perfect”. Soon I reconsider my purchase. It is just a picture, after all, I haven’t tried it on yet. What if I look funny instead of fly in it?
Expectation Vs Reality
We’ve come across so many memes themed as such. What you expect, and what exactly is the reality. What others expect and how real you are.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked into a retail store, found a great outfit- the right size, length, colour…you name it. I’ll rush to the trail room, wait patiently in line eager to try it because even if all the filters for this outfit have been matched, I will still want to confidently acknowledge my selection was just right.
Finally, it will be my turn to use the trial room. My overflowing excitement to try the outfit won’t cheer the mundane saleswoman, and she will dutifully hand me a tab that has the count for the number of outfits I’ll be trying on. She’ll see I have just one and wonder why I stood in line so long just to try this on.
I’ll smile, take the tab and walk into the empty room. Excited I’ll try on the outfit.
Ta ta ta daaaa…. ta ta ta dummm (minor key tone)
Annoyance soon rains on my parade of hope. The outfit would have looked nothing like what I imagined on myself. Feeling irritated, I’ll dump the dress in the room and walk out of the store.
What are our expectations in life? What are the things we hope for? Sure we want joy, peace, hope, and love. All of the earth wants that. But every day when you sit down to pray or meditate- what exactly do you seek from God? A life partner, a better job, the fulfillment of a 5-year plan?
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”- Mathew 21:22
If you have read my previous articles, you’ll know how much I stress on this verse. Ask, Ask and keep asking. Keep praying and never give up.
But there are many who have come to me saying “Asha, I pray so much. I ask daily. But why is there no answer? Why are things not working out according to what I desire?”
Ever felt this way?
You’re not alone! I’ve lost count of how often these thoughts have crept into my heart and let it even materialize and ruin the peace of my dear ones.
The morning of Palm Sunday, the crowd cheered with glee and a new hope. Finally, a Saviour had come to deliver them from the brutal hands of the Roman government. A Redeemer who will restore to them all that they had lost- their land, families, wealth and so much more.
They raised their arms in praise, swinging palm leaves as their King walked down the dusty paths of Jerusalem.
How big were their expectations??
There was a crowd of loyal followers who remained loyal to Jesus- those who accompanied Him always. And then on the day of Hosanna, there was an explosion of public sentiment alive with expectation that Jesus was the Messiah for whom they had longed for centuries. Excitement bubbled over. But, like the disciples, who constantly thought Jesus’ kingdom was going to be political (fighting over who would sit at his right hand and at his left when he chased the Romans and set himself up as the Davidic King), the people of Jerusalem expected a bloody uprising.
What are our expectations when we seek God in prayer?
To speak for myself, more often than not I expect God to answer me immediately. I expect Him to give me exactly what I’ve asked, maybe even more.
I believe and trust strongly in my heart that NOTHING is impossible with God. He only wants to bless me and He will never hold back for a child of God.
While my assurance is on point, my expectations are not. You and I both know that God knows you better than you know yourself.
But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.- Matthew 10:30
Now let’s look at this:
A switch in public opinion took over when they saw Jesus was not the warrior king they had expected. Religious leaders were soon spreading lies about Jesus. Many false messiahs had come and gone, leaving devastation in their wake. He was no longer the promised one, but another charlatan who had come to deceive. He was not who they thought he would be.
So a portion of the crowd that shouted “Hosanna”, yelled “Crucify”. When Pilate offered Barrabas or Jesus, they chose Barabbas and called for Jesus’ blood.
Jesus had failed their expectations. He had come to defeat sin and death, not Rome.
Which one do you belong to- the crowd that praised Jesus, or wanted Him dead??
How do we react when our expectations are not met?
There are times I will not want to pray, wondering what’s the point. Days when I’m lazy to read the bible because unless God answers my prayer, I don’t want to know what else He’s got to say to me. This dry spell has gone on for days for me. So yes, I do belong to the crowd that yelled; “CRUCIFY HIM!”.
It’s easy for us to be frustrated with God when our prayers are not answered. With this happening to me so often, God has taught me to trust in Him more than I trust my circumstances. He has taught me to be at rest, at peace after I’ve prayed to God.
Will my prayers be answered overnight?
Do I get a miracle?
Do my circumstances change?
But then I begin to see God’s hand at work. I see family and friends that tell me that they’re praying for me. I come across verses that encourage me to have faith. I realize the truth that there is a greater purpose and reason why I’m here on this earth.
I’m not saying I have learned to be content in all circumstances, unlike Paul. But it is a process. It’s a growth in your spiritual life. You have to work hard at it. And the best part, God knows what you’re battling. The purification and renewal of your heart was His plan after all.
As we get closer to Easter, let us choose to live in the Grace and mercy God has showered on us. Let’s pray that He works on our heart every moment. Let’s learn to direct our desires to be in accordance with His will.
Wishing you a blessed and hopeful Easter