I’ve spent the better part of the past two months arguing with God because He failed to meet my expectations. He did what I needed Him to – He provided for me. Just not the way I expected Him to. With more work and pain and tears than I expected Him to allow.
So I was angry with Him and finding it hard to read my Bible in such a state.
When I finally opened my Bible, it was to where I’d left off in the book of Acts. There’s a story in there (chapter 3) about a lame man who begs every day by the temple gate. This is how I read the story that morning:
Peter & John, two busy guys going to the temple, expect an hour of prayer together in the temple. As they go in, they pass a lame man who’s been begging at the temple for forty years. He’s arrived expecting just another day of the same, degrading work. When Peter & John call to him, he expects money. Instead, he gets to walk. A crowd forms, full of people who’d been expecting a quick trip to the temple and then get home to their families. Instead, they’ve witnessed a miracle.
The temple officials come. They’d been expecting a full day of teaching their own takes on theology at the temple. Instead they find Peter and John proclaiming that God has done what their theology teaches not to expect from God – that someone (Jesus) has been raised from the dead. They throw Peter & John into prison for the night, expecting to be able to intimidate them into silence the next morning. Instead, Peter & John refuse to stop speaking about Jesus, baffling the temple officials.
The whole story is full of burst expectations and plans turned upside down by what God does. There are two responses in the story when God goes all unexpected – like the lame man and the crowds, we can praise God. Or like the Sadducees and temple officials we can get angry. I chose the same option the Sadducees opted for.
Ever since I read that story, I’ve been thinking how I can go from being an angry Sadducee to a rejoicing crowd member. How can I respond better when God’s plan doesn’t match up with my expectations?
I’ll tell you what I’ve found tomorrow. Meanwhile, I want to hear what you think.
Are you more often a Sadducee or a crowd member? What are some ways you’ve found to cope with unmet expectations?