Living in Expectation
If you’ve been following along with us this past week I shared how a recent medical diagnosis, Achalasia, has really stunned my little world. Instead of finding one answer that would fix my problem, I’ve been led to sit down in God’s waiting room. Having spent way too much time in literal waiting rooms over the past five years, this metaphorical waiting room we’re talking about is one that many great people have been led to, as well. Hoping to glean from their lessons, we’ve decided to take some time to look at “the magic” (in the informal sense of the word, meaning “wonderful, special”) that happens in that space.
To get us started, we read from 1 Kings 18, particularly looking at verses 40-46, where Elijah waits in “expectation” for rain to come.
So often the word, “expectation” gets a bad rap. Just listen to what some say:
“I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations” (Author of Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson).
“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” (Poet Sylvia Platt).
“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations” (Author Jodi Picoult).
We’re told to “lower our expectations,” or “have no expectations.”
There is a grain of truth, for sure, to these statements, but when I look at this word or concept through the eyes of scripture, it takes on power and hope. Elijah knew something we need to know. We can “wait in expectation” because we know God and therefore, our expectation is in HIM, not ourselves. If I believe that God orchestrates my life—with my good and His will in mind—then this leads me to trust the process that waiting demands. Does that make sense?
Elijah was awaiting a literal rain storm. What are you “awaiting?”
Expectation is “an awaiting.”
Expectation comes from the Latin root, exspectatio, meaning, “anticipation; an awaiting.” One step further, this alludes to a foreseeing or foretaste or looking forward to.”
Elijah, like so many who are placed in the waiting room, had to wait (smile). Yet, in his waiting he actively pursued God:
- He heard a mighty rainstorm coming (before there was a cloud in the sky). He sensed it in his spirit, v. 41.
- He climbed to the top of Mt. Carmel. His vantage point changed, v. 42.
- He prayed with his face between his knees. He took the posture of humility and surrender, v. 42.
- He expected. He sent his servant to be on the lookout, v. 43.
- He persevered. On the seventh trip, his servant saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand, v. 44.
- He received special strength. Empowerment comes to those who wait, v. 46a. Remember Isaiah [40:31]?
Ok. I’m sold. I will wait like Elijah. It doesn’t say if he liked it…but it does say that he persevered until it rained.
The next time someone asks me how I’m doing, I have a new response, “I’m expecting. How are you?” Can’t wait to see their reaction (smile).
Join me as I close out this weekend with this prayer thought from Psalm 62:5-6 (MSG):
“God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.”