Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Lord of Unmet Expectations

With the exception of one thing, today turned out to be a day of disappointments. I expected the bus to start running at 5:30 am the way it does on the weekday. It didn't run until 8:30 am. I expected that out of the 13 miles we walked and the 4 apartment complexes we visited we would find one that we could rent. We didn't. I expected that my income would be enough to get us into a two bedroom apartment much closer to my work. It wasn't.

Have you ever had a day like that?

The one thing that did work out the way we expected it to was that we made it to Saturday evening mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Downtown Dallas. It was a beautiful setting, and the homily the priest gave hit me right in the heart.

Don't you hate it when that happens?

The readings covered the 70 elders that Moses had selected receiving the Holy Spirit from his hand - including the two that didn't manage to follow the prescribed recipe of being in the tent with the Ark of the Covenant. They broke the rules and God still managed to bless them. Joshua was upset, but Moses chastised him.

Moses said that Joshua should be wishing that every single Israelite among them would have that same experience no matter where they were.

The gospel reflected this same message. John and James were bent out of shape because people who weren't Jesus' direct disciples were casting out demons in His name. They wanted Jesus to make those people stop. Jesus chastised them, instead, and said that everyone who does great deeds in His name is with them.

Are you ready for this? I wasn't.

The priest dropped a bombshell in my lap. He pointed out that the problem with Joshua, John, and James was their expectations. They were disappointed because God wasn't behaving the way they expected Him to behave. Things weren't going according to the way they thought it should.

Joshua was thinking too small. His expectations of how God should work were getting in the way of him being able to accept the graciousness of God's greater gift.

John and James wanted Jesus to make those people follow the rules, to put in their dues, to do the same thing everyone else was doing. Jesus wanted to do greater things than James and John were prepared to allow Him to do.

Did the light start to go on for you as it did for me?

I was disappointed today because I had these expectations about how things were going to go. God wanted better things for me than what I had in mind. If everything had worked out the way I wanted it to, I would have missed out on one of the best homilies I've had in a long time.

I wouldn't have been challenged in my faith, pushed to let go of what I think I know about God so that I can start getting to know Him on a deeper level.

I didn't realize it, but the problem wasn't what happened today. It was my expectations about what was going to happen that were the problem.

I think God's challenging me to let go of my expectations for how He is going to provide for my needs. I think He's trying to tell me that my expectations are limiting what I am prepared to receive from Him. I think He's telling me that He wants to do greater things for me than I am prepared to allow Him to do, I just have to get out of His way and let Him do them.

The problem?

I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to let go of expectations.

Any ideas? I'm all ears.

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