Expectancy for an Encounter with a Good God
The difference between “expectancy” and “expectation” might seem subtle, but over and over again in my own life and my life as a pastor, I see how easy it is to miss, especially in the context of how we experience and encounter God. We want to encounter God deeply and see Him move powerfully in our lives, but we often add “and I need it to look like this.” Expectation will put parameters on what God moving looks like, opening the door to disappointment if He chooses to move differently. Expectancy is different. Expectancy leaves it up to Him.
In our culture of signs, wonders, miracles, power encounters, and manifestations, we can start to put value on certain ways God moves over others. I remember this happening to me on my first–year mission trip. On the first night, it felt like everyone I prayed for was healed or fell out under the power of the Holy Spirit. The next day on the streets, I felt disappointed that nothing seemed to happen when I prayed. One man said he felt peace, but this felt small compared to what I’d seen the night before. My leader’s response to my disappointment was one of the most aligning moments of my life. “Who are you to devalue peace?” he challenged me. For someone who has only ever found solace in the bottom of a bottle, peace might be the most powerful encounter they’ve ever experienced. I’ll never forget that moment because it taught me not to dictate to God how He should move, but rather celebrate and deeply appreciate that He is moving at all.
Should we long for the “defining moment” power encounters, miracle healing, and the manifestations of His presence? Of course we should! But we must value the God of the encounter more than the encounter itself, and recognize that everything else is just fruit. We don’t chase fruit, we chase Him. Our God is the giver of good gifts. When we pray, He comes. Don’t let comparison trip you up. Be alert, and live in awareness of the deep privilege that Jesus is manifesting in our lives. Sometimes in peace. Sometimes in power. And in a hundred other ways.
Today, lay down your expectations, forget where God isn’t moving and take stock of everywhere He is. I’ve never had a student in my office that didn’t leave encouraged after spending some time talking about what God is doing in their lives. When we take off the parameters of what it should look like, we see Him everywhere. Live your life out of a deep expectancy – and watch for what He will do. it’s this heart posture that will keep you positioned to grow in the greatest privilege of our lives – relationship with Him.