We Suffer From Expectations. A Holy Week Reflection On Lessons Learned From A Baby
“Kid, we always feed you!” I feel like saying to our eight-month-old daughter when she wakes up late at night crying. Why is she crying? She knows we’re always there for her. Why she can’t trust us?
Because she’s eight-months-old. I’m a grown-up, and I grouse at God because I’m (figuratively) hungry and I want to be fed now. I always expected my hard work to lead to success, but over the last six years many aspirations disappeared like Charlie Brown’s football.
Ninety-nine percent of humanity has lived more difficult lives than mine. I’m 33 and healthy. I’m blessed with a home, a wife, and a daughter. And with healthy friends and family. My business goes well enough and I’m doing what I want to do.
Yet I don’t feel thankful. I feel justified in telling God what I expect from Him. So, how am I any better than my baby?
Suffering Because of Expectations
It’s all about expectations. I don’t just ask for what God might not give. I expect what God might not give, like getting the business off the ground faster or getting frustrating bureaucracy out of the way so my wife can start a part-time job.
At eight months, my daughter’s eager to stand, but her favorite forms of travel are Army crawling and rolling. She doesn’t seem to want to walk. She doesn’t expect to walk. If I suddenly lost the ability to walk, I’d suffer. It would take time, willpower, support, and prayer to adjust to that new life. Because I expect to walk. I expect God to give me that gift and I don’t expect to lose it anytime soon.
Because I don’t see myself or my family getting what I perceive we “need,” I find myself struggling with confidence in God’s Will. Not His existence, but just His Will. He is Lucy, and I’m Charlie Brown, with things that He seems to be guiding me towards … until they get pulled away.
Realistic Expectations Start With God
Americans tend to view success in a transactional way — work hard, get results, in fact get the results you expect. This has too often been my approach, clearly to my detriment and sometimes to the detriment of those around me.
Jesus encourages us to ask things of God, but we are also promised nothing good in this life. In fact, He promises that we will face difficulties. Suffering. Maybe great suffering.
My duty as a Christian, a husband, and a father is to ask of God but be grateful and satisfied with whatever comes my way. As. Paul said, all things work to the good of those who love God, even things we don’t expect which are more to our good than what we want. As he writes the Corinthians, Jesus tells us that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And so, Paul says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:7-10).
The good thing is that Jesus went through His deserts and got His just desserts. To quote my parish priest, John the Baptist “got what was coming to him” by always staying focused on God. I don’t mean his martyrdom
No matter the hardships, I have to remember that Christ is going to take care of me. He made breakfast for the disciples after they’d had a hard night of fishing. He fed them when they didn’t expect it. He was saying that he’s with them, all the time. He’s saying that to me too. “Kid, I always feed you.”