"T he Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor..., (Luke 4:18 NASB)
Jesus was reading a passage from Isaiah 61. It is hard to comprehend this, but as He read, He was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. Isn't that amazing? God did exactly what He said He would do, in exactly the way He said He would do it. Isaiah had prophesied the Messiah would come, and that He would come proclaiming the good news. People may have expected a warrior and king like David, because that is what they understood of God's deliverance. God, however, was doing a totally different, and much better, thing.
The problem with expectations is that they get in the way when we confront reality. Jesus was exactly Who God said He would be, but because He didn't arrive as they expected Him to arrive, didn't do what they expected Him to do, they didn't recognize Him. They didn't want to recognize Him, because they would have to give up the expectations to which they had clung for so many years - expectations of power and deliverance from foreign oppressors, expectations of wealth and military might.
Sometimes our expectations get in the way of recognizing God at work in our lives, too, don't they? We pray long and hard for something, expecting God to move in a powerful way, yet what happens is nothing like what we expected. Recently, I prayed for God to work in a situation. I was certain I knew the outcome. In fact, I could barely tolerate the idea of any other outcome but the one I wanted. Have you ever been there? Much to my surprise, God's plan was to change me in the situation, not change the situation. I nearly missed it, but God's sanctifying grace is patiently persistent with me, and in the end, it was my heart that was transformed. What He did was much better than what I expected.
Today, look at the expectations you hold about what God is doing, will do, or should do in the lives of our loved ones and in your own life. Let's just lay those preconceived notions down and invite God to do whatever He wants to do, in whatever way He wants to do it. His word tells us He is not willing for any to perish. We know He desires that all come to repentance. Redemption for our loved ones is His will. Today, invite Him to accomplish His will in His way. It's the prayer that never fails.