Expectations, Trusting God

Expectations: Looking To God

Lilacs almost blooming

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How often does Jesus say to us, “Look at Me?” When we look, do we gaze at Him with specific expectations?

“If I look to You, Jesus, You’re going to make everything okay, right?”

“You’re going to help me get better at this skill, or solve that problem, or give me this thing I really want . . . right?”

Eyes

We look to Him with our own set of expectations.

In Acts 3, a lame man rested at the temple gate called Beautiful. As Peter and John walked past him, he looked at them. Expecting—hoping—for alms to provide food for his next meal.

Peter and John said, “Look at us.” The man looked, but I’m not sure he really saw them. Not at first. He may have waited, possibly with hand out. Perhaps ready to receive from them. Then he’d be ready for the two men to move on so he could draw the attention of the person behind them, with his hand extended again.

Peter and John had something completely different in mind.

They knew what they had to give, and it was so much better than enough money to pay for bread and drink. What they had to offer was so much better than what he could have dared hope for.

They gave him Jesus. The reality of not only spiritual healing, but physical healing.

Cross doors

How often, when Jesus says, “Look at Me,” do we look at Him, expecting something our human minds can conceive? For me, it’s all too often. I don’t even think to look beyond what I believe I need, to something greater, something better.

God’s plans may or may not include answering our immediate prayers with a “Yes.” They may or may not include making our hopes and dreams a reality. At least not in the now . . . maybe not in the future.

Hollyhocks blooming

This I know, when we release our expectations . . . when we lean into the plans God has for us? They are so much better than the plans we come up with for ourselves.

When we look to Jesus, we should look with eyes that expect His best for us.

With a heart yielded to His plans, to His unexpected surprises . . . with anticipation for what he wants to do in and through us.

But, we need to release our expectations for things to be done on our terms, and in the ways we envision.

Hands raised

He may not give us the thing we’ve always dreamed of. For me, that’s publishing a book. For you, it may be something else.

If Jesus uses us to touch the lives of those around us—if we follow the opportunities He gives us to share Him with other people—isn’t that the main thing anyway?

When we allow God to change our expectations, our hearts can be at peace with Him and with the path He has us walking on.

Pansies

When we release our expectations into His care, then we can live with confidence. 

And, just as Jesus healed the lame man at the Gate called Beautiful and far exceeded his expectations, He wants to work in and through us far exceeding our expectations.

Wild flowers burgundy amid white

When we live with the intention of pleasing our Audience of One, then we can be used by Him in unexpected ways. And, we can be a part of the unexpected surprises He has for us and those whose lives we touch.

What about you? When have you looked to God expecting one thing and He gave you something entirely different? How do you handle disappointed expectations?

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19 thoughts on “Expectations: Looking To God”

  1. Good question, and I’m not sure it’s one I’ve ever really faced.

    I was never much for petitionary prayer, and generally asked God to help me meet the events of my life with grace, courage, and honour.

    It may be that I come from a Zen tradition, but it seems rude, to me, to make specific requests of the Almighty. He’s rather busy, and I always suspected that he might prefer that I handle things on my own, to the degree I could.

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    1. Andrew, my personal opinion? I think God is blessed when we come to Him with our needs. We’re showing trust in Him. Now, if we’re coming begging for a new car, or for the things we expect Him to do for us, like a Santa’s list? I’m in complete agreement with you. 🙂 I love that you ask God to help you meet the events of your life with grace, courage and honor. I can’t imagine much better requests than these.

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  2. The number of times this has happened to me I can’t even count on two hands. It is so true that He sees what we really need. I remind myself of the Father giving good things to His children in Matthew. He knows what I’m really hungry for instead of what I ask for sometimes. Great reminder, Jeanne!

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    1. I loved this, Michelle. “He knows what I’m really hungry for, instead of what I ask for sometimes.” I forget this too. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂 I’m glad God knows me better than I know myself. And that He’s patient with me when I’m willful. 🙂 Thanks for adding these thoughts, Michelle!

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  3. When I approach my Father Who loves me with a request, I know He will answer me in His way. It may not be my way, but He will answer. When I pray His Word, I know it is true and I expect His promise will happen. I am rarely disappointed. I just know how much He loves me, so His answer is always best for me. Dear Andrew, He is never too busy to hear you, for you are His beloved son!

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    1. Mom, you’re right. God often answers us in His way when we bring a request to Him. And His ways are better. Always. 🙂 Believing God’s word helps us to accept His answers when they’re different from what we wanted/expected. Thanks for adding this to the conversation!

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  4. Jeanne many times God has answered my prayer with something unexpected. For years I perceived Him with a servile fear. An immature view of an all consuming God. Those disappointments while momentarily harsh became the roadways to teach me of an all loving Father. BTW, I’m so there with you on wanting to publish my book too! 🙂

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    1. I agree, Kelly. God uses disappointments to pave our pathway to deeper intimacy with Him, as well as a better understanding of who He is. I’m so glad you added to the conversation!

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    2. I love how God uses others to encourage me in the writing journey. Thanks for being an encourager!

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  5. So many times my request have been answered in the most unexpected ways. In the past I would view it as God denying my request or that He didn’t really hear my prayers but as I have matured I have seen His mercy in His reply. I have learned to still take my request to Him and just accept the next thing that comes.

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    1. Amy, your approach makes sense. And I agree with you. God’s mercy is apparent in His replies, even though it may not appear that way in the moment. Your idea of, once you’ve brought a request to the Lord, and accepting the next thing that comes makes sense to me. Thank you so much for stopping by today!

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    1. Isn’t God wonderful that way, Annie? He knows how to go above and beyond that which we ask and think. When we trust Him, He does so much more than we expect. And thank you for your kind words, friend!

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  6. Oh, Jeanne. Disappointment. I usually cry. Cry my heart out to God.

    You know, right now, I’m remembering to simply ask Him for things. I think when I got over the big hurdles in life, like a family, it sort of seemed everything paled in comparison. And I would forget to ask for the little things (that some would think big). So, right now, I’m remembering to ask.

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    1. Remembering to simply ask God for things, I think, is how we learn true dependence on God. And how we learn to listen for his still, small voice. Good for you remembering to ask, Shelli. 🙂

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  7. “This I know, when we release our expectations . . . when we lean into the plans God has for us? They are so much better than the plans we come up with for ourselves.” Life-breathing words, Jeanne. Releasing the reigns, releasing the expectations and trusting that His path for us is the way we need to take – yes, it just brings freedom! Loved these words – love all your words – thank you for speaking into and touching this life. Blessings, friend!

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