While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.”
Expectations are funny things. They change as our experiences and surroundings change. In fact, our lives might be viewed as a series of unmet, met or changed expectations. When our expectations are satisfied we tend to be content and walk away feeling that we have firmer footing whenever that situation comes around again. When our expectations are disappointed our hearts sink and we react in fear. Our perception of how things will unfold is unfortunately often based upon a combination of our personalities and past experiences. Are we skeptical control freaks or passive participants?
In the passage above, those around Jesus did not expect Him to be able to raise the girl to life again. Nevertheless, the girl’s spirit returned and she got up at once. This forces me to look within my own heart and mind to determine where my expectations of Christ are mistaken. How have I underestimated the power of my Savior? How have you?
In Luke chapter 7, John the Baptist asks the question (speaking of Christ), “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” He asked this question in prison and having his own expectations of a messiah who was a conquering king challenged by a humble savior. Could the man who was ordained before birth to prepare the way for the lamb of God and who stood in the Jordan river when the father pronounced His pleasure in His son truly ask this question? He did. What events in my own life have left me wondering if there really is a God? If you’re honest, you have found yourself wondering the same thing.
Either way, the point is that our expectations are never an accurate indication of God’s power, God’s moving or God’s plan. If He fails to meet our expectations then our expectations were wrong. If He exceeds our expectations, then our faith was too small. Expectations are funny things.
1. What are your expectations of God?
2. How are they formed or changed?
3. In what areas do your expectations reveal that you have too little faith?