And my expectations of God could be described with two words: convenience and predictability.
Convenience. I’ve become accustomed to the incessant convenience and stimuli present around us. I group convenience and stimuli together because they both perpetuate my consistent state of expediency and excitement. I remain inundated with new information.
It’s not that technological stimuli or convenience is inherently bad. It’s that my relationship with God has been shaped by the unending and often overwhelming availability of almost every resource I could ever want.
My description of earthly stimuli and resources became my expectation of God: convenient, predictable, quick, handy, stimulating, pleasing, thrilling, and fleeting. I waited for the Lord to speak to me. I waited to experience the Lord on a deeper level. The Lord is always near, but my expectations thwarted my experience of the Lord’s presence.
I fear I’m failing to adequately communicate this concept. Who I expect and know God is and how I expect God to move are vastly different ideas. We can always expect God to be who God says God is. We can always expect God to speak to us. For instance, our Lord is always present, constant, reliable, and powerful. But how God speaks to and manifests that presence, constancy, reliability and power in us may vary.
If my expectations of God’s movement do not change, I will experience less of God in my life. When I expect God to speak to or move in me in a specific manner, I limit my communion with God.
Predictability. And sometimes my expectations of the Lord are limited by my prior experiences with the Lord. Maybe instead of confining God to convenience, we have confined God to predictability. It makes no sense that I could fathom, determine, or have already experienced the only ways God will speak to me. But this is exactly what I do when I expect God to speak the same way God spoke to me yesterday. I become so fixated on recreating God’s last movement that I miss the powerful movement of God in this very moment.
I do not want to miss the splendor of God in my life because I’m clinging to how God last moved in me. And I absolutely do not want this for you.
Whatever the limitation I’ve placed on God's movement, I must surrender it. I implore you to do the same. And it’s been a struggle for me lately because my expectations of God feel safe.
I trust that we cannot begin to comprehend God’s movement in our lives when we become open to whatever form that movement may take. I pray God opens you and me to Christ’s unbridled movement. I pray we experience God's voice in marvelous ways that far exceed our understanding.
“Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.” Job 37:2-5.
‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8.
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12.
Much love to you,