Did you know, that has a Christian, the word expectation is a noun and hope is a verb? Let me explain.
A few days ago, a woman who is not a Christian said to me, “A lot of us are always trying to fix someone. If we just left them alone, they would probably get there themselves.” She said that we, Christians, and women in particular, often have pre-determined outcomes or results that cause us to want to fix something and we just aren’t satisfied until we achieve them by making changes in other’s lives.
Because I recently read of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, I wondered about this. After all, when we respond out of obedience to the Holy Spirit, we don’t have expectations. In fact, we are not even sure of the outcome. We leave that up to Him. We only know that we must react. We might change the world, change the relationship, upset the apple cart, make things worse for a while, but we do it anyway. I believe when we do this we are free from expectations and full of hope; hope in a resurrected Lord who has a purpose and who directs our lives and our words. He empties us with our confession and fills us with himself, ready to act in a different knowledge and wisdom that is somehow beyond our understanding yet we sense the presence. It feels good, it feels right, it’s freeing. In that one moment, we aren’t passing judgment, we are acting out of love.
It’s not the first time, God has revealed to me the differences in the two. When I think of how the Holy Spirit moves in me, I have to go back to Genesis. In Genesis the Holy Spirit hovers over the waters; and, at times, I feel like He is hovering over my spirit, compelling me to move, change, and act out of a new hope in something beyond myself, redemption, life beyond this one, in heaven! At times when He doesn’t seem present, I am left with my own expectations, of myself, my husband, my children, my co-workers, my boss, etc. These expectations are qualified by experience, they are measured to evaluate success and yet they are empty, irrelevant, insignificant, and disappointing in that the majority of the time, they fall short of excellence. It’s because I made them.
When we have hope, we expectantly (adj) wait for what we believe will occur in the future. It’s expectation undefined, left open-ended; because the kind of expectation God invokes of us is fluid, living, it changes as He hovers over us and it includes a dance or active experience with Him. He allows us to have free will because He wants us to come to Him and receive His love, His gifts, His wisdom, after all He is our one true Father, who birthed us into life in this world and provided our savior, Christ. We were predestined and remain tethered to Him. We cannot get lost. We walk freely but not too far away from Him. We can expectantly hope in Him to act on our behalf and to rescue us when we don’t know what to do. His expectation is that we will fail and we have. He knows this by experience. He doesn’t measure it; he doesn’t compare it to others; and, he isn’t disappointed by our failure. He is not pleased when we place expectations on ourselves, or others that gratify our needs, wants, or desires. Expectations are of self. We need them to maintain control, order, organization; and even worse, to classify objects and people, and to predict results. He gives us hope. He compels us to expectantly hope (verb) in Him, to live this hope daily and to seek him for direction and fulfillment. Hope is not something we have when we are a Christian, hope is active and living in us. If we hope (verb), do we need to place so much value on expectations (noun)? He wants us to be free of law and of self. This is his desire.
When was the last time, you were disappointed by unmet expectations? I challenge you to surrender that expectation and replace it with His hope that what He has for us is so much better than anything we can measure or define. When we act out of Hope rather than Expectation, we are free indeed!
Father, thank you for Jesus, the hope of the world.
Help others to see us acting out of hope and not expectation. Let the wonder of you and your presence compel them to want to know more. Help us to be obedient in response not out of an expectation that they will see their sinful lives and repent in that very moment (although that would be so cool to experience) but out of hope that you are working and active and that you are in control. Thank you for your son Jesus and that we are left with the Holy Spirit to guide us and counsel us. He embodies our hope. He hovers over us and provides knowledge, wisdom, and protection beyond our understanding. We can trust that death is defeated and we are truly free now to walk in victory, in hope, in love, and in true freedom! If we are not feeling free today, show us where we may have unmet expectations and how to surrender those to you so that you can replace them with life-giving hope!
In Jesus name,