The first snowfall of the season came through overnight leaving a thin blanked of white, barely covering the fallen leaves. I can remember the excitement I would feel as a kid seeing this first snow. I would bundle up and get the sleds and bound down a couple of hills till the new snow turned to mud and then try to make the perfect snowman that looked more like a popcorn ball with twigs and leave sticking out here and there. More often than not it would end up as a pile of wet, mud soaked slush with brown soggy leaves scattered throughout. Not the prettiest sight. After about an hour or so the excitement would wear off and disappointment would set in. I should have waited for the real snow.
This is the problem with expectations. When clouded by emotion they rarely fulfill their promise. And emotions can be very persistent. There are some things that we want to turn out in a certain way so much that, when they don’t, we end up disappointed and let down. This has been a difficult lesson to learn. The ability to step back and really look at a situation, detached from the emotion of the moment, took a lot of practice. There are still some times when I struggle to see through that fog.
All of our choices have consequences and our actions have outcomes that rarely match our expectations. If you try to make a snowman in a thin fresh-fallen blanked of snow you’re going to end up with something that more resembles three giant pine cones stacked on top of one another. To expect otherwise would be foolish…but that is often what happens. We run out, full of excitement, with an idealized picture in our minds of how we want things to turn out but blind to the reality of the wet snow-covered leaves on the ground and what it will really become.
Expectation is not a divine attribute. God does not expect things…God knows things. Alpha – Omega…beginning from the end…God knows. We do not…we cannot. And this is the crux of the problem. We want so badly to know. We pool together our past experiences and our desires, gather in all of our hopes and fears and wishes, add a good dose of emotion and come up with an expectation. When all along we should be resting in the One who does know. We should reach an understanding that things may not turn out the way we want, but they will always turn out the way He wills. And then trust that his will is for my benefit and his glory.
(Jeremiah 29:11), (Romans 8:28), (Luke 12:22-34)