What Are Your Expectations?

USA Today once printed a list of demands made to prospective employers by people looking for jobs. Here are a few from the files of a professional employment counselor:

  • A three week paid vacation before starting work
  • A paid membership to the city zoo
  • Elvis' Birthday off
  • Medical benefits for faith healer visits
  • Italian and Chinese restaurants close to the office
  • Extra pay for time thinking about work on nights and weekends
  • And finally, a promise from the mailroom to collect all foreign stamps for the stamp collection of the potential employee's child

Friends, many people are trapped by unrealistic expectations because they believe they "deserve" certain things in life. They become disappointed when they don't get what they deserve and often are not interested in working for a company that will not treat them as they believe they should be treated. The same thing sometimes happens in our relationship with God. We frequently expect the Lord to give us certain things, to bless us in specific ways, and to generally follow our suggestions as He works in this world and in our lives. When those things don’t happen, we tend to be disappointed. Some people even become angry with God, yet it is very healthy and helpful that we keep some basic truths in mind.

1. God is sovereign. His absolute power and infinite wisdom enable Him to govern the universe in just the right way. The Lord does not need to give in to our demands or follow our suggestions to do a good job of running things. In fact, as the Bible makes clear (Job 38:2), those who seek to give advice and counsel to God are usually acting like arrogant fools. Telling God that He has made some mistakes or claiming to have better ideas than He does about what should happen in a particular situation, indicates we do not know what we are talking about. If God were to follow my suggestions for working in my life, I would not be a better person, but a worse one.

2. We are totally dependent on God’s grace. Everything we have and enjoy is a gift from God’s hand. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 4:7b, “What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?” We deserve neither God’s common grace, which causes the rain to fall on both the righteous and the wicked, nor His special grace, which provides eternal salvation to those who trust in Jesus Christ. The air we breathe, friends that love us, and joy we have found in our Christian faith are not ours because we have earned them, but because God is gracious.

3. We should express gratitude to God for all He has given us. Rather than complain because we don’t think we have received all we deserve, we need to be giving thanks to the Lord for what we do have. Though the Lord may not be meeting all of our expectations, Christians can be confident that God is always working for His glory, and ultimately, for our good.
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Dan Erickson