by Terri Gillespie
Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. John 14:1 TLV
Keep your heart from being troubled? No small task, is it? Because sometimes life smacks you in the face, and there it is, your reality, and the reality is heartbreaking.
My husband and I walked into our daughter’s room and found the note—and her Chihuahua, Paco. The note simply said: I can’t stay. No mention where she would be or how to contact her. Nothing about whether or not she would be back for little Paco, who was so devastated, he went on a hunger strike.
This was our only child. The daughter we had prayed for since before she was born. How could this be? Our expectations were not for her to disappear with no clue as to where she was. For months there was no word from her. Based on her dangerous lifestyle, we didn’t know if she was even alive.
In the verse above, Yeshua (Jesus) is preparing His followers for His death and eventual departure from this world. Based on the comments and questions from the disciples, they were troubled to hear those words.
It appears they had certain expectations of Yeshua, and leaving wasn’t part of those expectations. Their expectations of Jesus were more that He would conquer their oppressors! Or that He would give them favor by showing them His Dad. How did Jesus not pull out His hair in frustration?
One of my wise friends gave me the advice, “Hold things lightly.” Perhaps, I will add to that wise counsel: “Hold expectations lightly.”
We may confuse faith with expectations, thinking that if we have enough faith, God will come through and do what we expect. I am not seeing that notion proved in Scripture. While it is scriptural that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), faith is not about our expectations. It’s not about us at all. Our faith centers in God and His plans.
And He pulled back about a stone’s throw from them, got on His knees, and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:41-42 TLV, emphasis mine). Whatever we pray for, whatever we hope for, it should be with the understanding: in the end we ultimately want God’s will, not our will, to be done. Just like His Son prayed. Just like He taught us to pray (Matthew 6:10).
Eventually, our daughter telephoned us to let us know she was alive and well. Then, finally, she returned home.
Today, she has a son of her own. And from time to time, as she deals with her own teenager, she marvels at our love for her when she was in her most unlovable state. Hearing that from my daughter, well, that’s more than I ever expected.
Do we tend to pray with inflexible expectations? Try to tell God what to do? Always remember: God has a plan and His will, it will be done. And how could we ever be troubled when God’s will is done?
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year.
The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—including marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens is a modern-day Ruth and Naomi series set in a modern day hair salon.
Join the conversation: How hard do you hold on to expectations?