“And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.” Acts 3:5
One afternoon, Peter and John made their way to the temple at prayer time. At the gate, they came across a man who had been lame since birth. His friends had carried him there so he could beg. As Peter and John walked by, he called out to them and asked them for money. Peter answered him, “Look at us.” The beggar fixed his attention on them, expecting to get money. But Peter told him, “I don’t have silver or gold to give you.”
Have you ever had an expectation that went unfulfilled? Perhaps someone let you down, or God didn’t give you what you wanted or thought you deserved. Expectations can be dangerous. They can drive us away from our reliance on God when they are not met to our satisfaction. We become resentful and bitter.
Our negative feelings about unmet expectations is really us saying,”I know better than God.” We think God made a mistake in not meeting our expectations. So how do we cope with unmet expectations? We first must recognize our feelings. Usually when we feel let down, what we really feel is disrespected. We can ask ourselves if our ego is running the show, and demanding that people, places or things, behave as we want them to. If our ego is in charge, we can practice humility. We can certainly share our feelings with the person we feel let us down, but we must be careful in our communication. Blame and shame do not help anyone.
What do we do when we feel that God hasn’t met our expectations? We can tell him! We can pray for Him to help us either understand or to accept the situation. Praying the serenity prayer can help too.
You must let go of any resentments you may feel. If you don’t you won’t be open to receiving the blessings and grace of God. Remember that we don’t know the way God works, and sometimes, our unmet expectation is Him hard at work in our lives to better us. The beggar looking at Peter didn’t get what he expected, he got something better! Peter healed him. He was able to walk for the first time in his life! It may be that God isn’t giving you what you expected but will give you something better.
F.R.O.G. Practice: What unmet expectation is keeping you from the blessings and grace that God wants to give you? Can you accept the situation and then let it go?