I’m pretty sure some of the best and worst things happen when you least expect them. I mean, isn’t that what people preach to single people all the time? “They’ll show up when you least expect it!” For example, my expectation when I went to Maine was to visit my grandparents and cousins, not to end up in Orlando with my cousins.
And yet, in so many Christian circles, and just in life, we encourage people to have expectations. In Christian circles, we often use the term “Come Expectant”. For those of you not familiar with that term, it’s often used as you’re about to go into a worship experience, or a conference or whatever. It’s used to remind us to expect that God will show up because He will.
I think sometimes we forget that He doesn’t always show up exactly how we want or expect Him to. Just like our expectations aren’t always met exactly how we or expect them to be met. Just like a lot of things in this chapter.
How many times do we have expectations that aren’t met? How many artists have you anxiously awaited their new album only for it not to meet your expectations? How necessary are expectations in the enjoyment of our life?
I’m someone with anxiety, and I can’t help but imagine myself in Harry’s shoes, mind racing as I tried to not just take in the new expectations this world had of me, but what to expect of school, and a school where he’d LIVE for most of the year. He really couldn’t have known what to expect, and I find those are the most exciting but also the most utterly terrifying times. It’s hard to have something not meet your expectations when you’re not sure what to expect, but it’s pretty to have something supersede your expectations when you don’t know what to expect. I can only imagine what Hogwarts was to Harry when he first saw it.
I know I dissolved into a huge puddle of tears when I first walked into Diagon Alley. I can only imagine that moment for Harry. The moment where he finally sees exactly what it was that was presented to him, his expectations completely shot, because how can you actually expect Hogwarts when it is what it is?
We so often expect God to show up in certain ways because we’re expectant. We’re taught to expect the miracle, we’re taught to expect that He will show up if we pray enough, or we do all the things we think we’re supposed to. He will show up when you enter worship, or however you encounter God. But what happens when he doesn’t? What happens when you do every single thing He’s asked and you don’t get what you expect? What happens when you don’t encounter God where you normally do?
I don’t really have an answer for you, except to feel everything you’re feeling. Maybe you’re angry or disappointed. Maybe you’re frustrated. Lean into that. Feel that. But don’t forget that sooner rather than later, you need to press into him. Embrace your grieving process, because I know this let down in expectations can cause you to grieve. Let yourself grieve, but in the end, hopefully, you can find yourself in awe of God again. In awe of greatness, of his goodness, and of how much he absolutely loves you. I’m hoping that I’ll get back there soon.