Those Pesky Expectations

by Terri Gillespie

. . . But you will receive power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh [the Holy Spirit] has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8 TLV

Picture the scene. Jesus is saying His farewells to His followers on the Mount of Olives. He exhorts them then leaves them with the most incredible blessing—the Holy Spirit—and a mission that will change the world.

What is their response?

So when they gathered together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (vs. 6 TLV)

Oy! Remember how the disciples thought Jesus was there to set them free from the Roman oppressors? Yet, He told them,

“. . . you heard from Me. For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha-Kodesh [the Holy Spirit] not many days from now.” (vss. 4b-5 TLV)

After everything Yeshua did — His miracles, death, and resurrection — they still asked Him when Israel would be theirs. When would their Roman oppressors be defeated?

Can you imagine our Messiah shaking His head, telling them it’s not for them to know when, only the Father knows? Then wondering how these guys still missed the bigger picture (vs.7)?


The followers of Yeshua still held tight to the expectation that the Messiah had come to defeat their oppressors. Like the Maccabees and their small army who miraculously defeated Antiochus IV Epiphanes. A huge army who had invaded Judaea and desecrated the Second Temple in Jerusalem, they thought Jesus would do the same to the Romans. Then He didn’t.

Instead, He did amazing miracles.

He told them He would die, which He did.

He told them He would rise from the dead, and He did.

He told them He was going back to His Father, and He did right in front of them.

The disciples read into all that: He was their conquering King here to set them free. But those pesky expectations almost caused them to miss the true reason Yeshua did all those wonders. To fulfill an even greater purpose — redemption for the world! Not just the Jewish people. And then Jesus is telling them they would receive an amazing gift, a powerful gift, the Holy Spirit to accomplish that mission.

“Really?” The disciples probably thought. “But what about the Romans?”

“Tsk,” we may say. “Those foolish disciples.” But, really, are we any different?

I have a writer-friend who loves the word, “pesky.” I’ve grown to appreciate it. Pesky can be things, creatures, and/or people who annoy or are bothersome. Not inherently evil, just distracting. Frustrating.

Do we have pesky expectations? Things we’ve had an iron-grip on and won’t let go. What we’re certain God told us, or promises in His word we’ve interpreted for our situation?

Another friend of mine says frequently — to me — to hold things lightly. I believe that applies to our expectations, not just things. Because holding too tightly means we become so focused on our expectation, we may miss what God is truly showing us.

If we hold anything tightly, we should hold tightly to our faith in our Heavenly Father. That He is a good Father who loves us, He has blessed us beyond measure, and that ultimately, His will is our desire.

Fortunately, our legacy was assured when those followers — still in awe, and most likely confused — walked away from the mountain and waited as Yeshua had instructed them. A few days later, the Holy Spirit came, and the Father’s purpose continued.

Right now, we may be confused and discouraged that our expectations are unfulfilled. Hold them lightly. Instead, focus on our Father, His Son, and the incredible gift of His Holy Spirit. Then watch for the true gift He has for you.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

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, because of His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, released in October 2021.

Sweet Rivalry, the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. Twenty years later, they discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry and secrets break them apart again?

Join the conversation: With what pesky expectations do you struggle?


2 thoughts on “Those Pesky Expectations

  1. Teri, this is powerful and important. I’m the queen of expectations–all my life. And since becoming a Christian over 50 years ago, it feels like God has and continues to help me release my expectations to Him. I now can recognize that not releasing my expectations results in disappointment and when I was disappointed growing up, it meant I was bad, unimportant and insignificant. Now, I can praise God I’m better at seeing that lie and I’m so grateful. But the expectations can still sneak up and grab me by the throat. So thanks for poking me with truth so I’ll be alert to notice when my thinking isn’t trusting God.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww, Kathy, thanks for sharing your story. I think we’ve probably all had similar ones. Sometimes our expectations of people AND God can be off, or the timing isn’t right. You’re such a blessings.


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