St. Paul admonishes us in his letter to the Philippians that,“Whatever happens, at all cost, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. For it [salvation] has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him”(1:27, 29.) To conduct ourselves at all times in the manner Paul speaks of, is to live in the expectation of coming events and the promises of God.
The encounter with experiential living is always with us. If the brush is dry, I expect the wildfire to spread; if the oven is too hot, I expect the pork will be dry; if the venue is full, I expect there will be a line; all of these expectations are reasonable because they are based on prior experience. But we are caught off-guard and wounded as events unfold, when, for lack of experience, we don’t know what to expect, or because we have incorrectly applied our experience, or because we have ignored a situation and then are confronted by it (a double offense since we usually punish ourselves with, “I should have known.”) This is usually the case when we hear those words, “You should have known,” or “What did you expect?” Regret once for the disappointment and twice for the lack of faith.
Being a Christian is a life of shared reality: the reality of my frailness and incompleteness and the reality of God’s omnipotence and love. As a person of faith, I am in constant pain, bearing the truth of the first reality and healed and liberated from that pain by the second. As a person of faith, I find the events of the first reality: all the events of my life, mediated by the second reality: the promises of God. There is a wonderful scene in Summerset Maugham’s book, The Razor’s Edge, when Larry looks to find the owner of a fleet of boats, one of which he is living on. Needing a guide to a Holy Place, he seeks the boats’ owner to ask for time off for the janitor, who is a local, familiar with the area and is willing to take him to the site. When he explains his request to the worker, he is astounded to find that worker himself is the owner—the owner is living a life of Holy Expectation.
We do not need to live life day to day “tossed to and fro’ by every wind” (Ephesians 4:14); we have the Holy Experience of God in Jesus Christ and the assurance of the outcomes. Our lives, lived in Holy Expectation, know that the great events as well the menial tasks (janitorial/custodial) are glorious and faithful expressions of our love and service. Even as we are confronted by the events of life which are out of our control, we need not be shocked or wounded. When we live lives of Holy Expectation, we encounter the inconvenient and tragic equally with the expectation of God’s love and fidelity.
Let me encourage you to stir your expectation that you are in Christ and to glorify God daily. To “know Christ and to make Christ known” is a weekly prayer of our gathered Body at Creator. That includes allowing God to reveal Godself to others through you in simple but supernatural ways. Stir your expectations, for "Your expectation shall not be cut off" (Proverbs 24:14). Stir your gifts (2 Timothy 1:6-7). To live in expectation means to have "intense anticipation, the thing I long for, to look for." Vines Dictionary defines expectation as "a reaching out in readiness to receive something, expecting, look for." As we put these meanings into practice by expecting God to prompt us, speak to us, direct us daily, we will find doors of opportunity opening to us everywhere we go.
Let us never forget that right now there is a very needy generation waiting for answers to their dilemmas. You and I are called by God to be the answers to those problems through our expectancy and availability to God in the NOW—right NOW! Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit—that is the key. Then carry the commitment to do whatever you hear (John 2:5). There will always be blessings to others on the other side of our obedience to God. Don't allow anything or anyone to rob you of that privilege to be a “worker together with God” (2 Corinthians 6:1), because you have developed the Holy Expectation to be used as a companion of Christ Jesus.
Father Bill Burk†