Sitting in a coffee shop in the heart of Nashville, my good friend Larry Malone unwrapped a word that has become the heart of his ministry and now a complete theme of life for me. The word is “expecting”. So what does the word mean to you? What does it mean to expect something? I ask you the same.
The Free Dictionary defines the word expect: “To look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance of” or “To consider likely or certain”.
Larry then asked the question, “What about a woman who expects a baby? What is the real meat of that expectation?” I responded, “Something is going to happen.” After all, a woman pregnant with a child can’t see the baby, but feels the child, observes changes in her body, her cravings, her posture, and her life in preparation for the inevitable. We all see a change and tangible evidence but can’t see the child… she’s expecting something happen. Just because you can’t see the child doesn’t mean the baby doesn’t exist. Right?
Larry then turned the conversation abruptly from defining a word to a penetrating question, “So are you expecting God like that?”
We sat for a moment in silence, I furled my brow, and my mind pinged back and forth from the idea of expecting, the reality of expecting, and the definition of expecting. The thoughts easily settled on the questions, “Am I expecting God to be present in any situation? Do I have any type of evidence that I expect God? Does my life look like I expect God?”
It’s important not to confuse “expecting” with “hoping”. Hoping for something places you in a tentative posture with an uncertain attitude toward the outcome. Unfortunately, “hoping” is where most of our faith ends. We’ve all hoped that God would intervene in our lives. We’ve hoped for something. We’ve hoped that we’re on the right track… but have we ever really expected God? The writer of Hebrews spells out this “expectant” posture.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.”
The original Greek and Hebrew of this pivotal definition of faith hangs on the word “hope” – as it’s translation is “expect”. What the writer is attempting to tell us is that Faith is something we expect and that expectation is what gives us conviction. If you don’t expect something to happen, then how convinced are you that it’s a reality?
A steady flow of people drifted in and out of the coffee shop, but we were entirely too consumed in our conversation to notice a single person. I drew in my last sip of a large iced mocha latte and smiled. Larry had just helped me define that intangible thing that drives me. He helped me put into words what it means to drop everything and pursue ministry, and it is wrapped up in a single word – “expect”.
I expect God to be a part of my day, and I expect God to show me where to focus my energies and commitments. Moving into an aggressive stance where you can completely rely on God and trust that He will show up is perhaps the most important aspect of faith that every believer should grip.
If you find yourself in a tentative posture of hoping God will show up or hoping what you are doing is the right thing, then you’ve missed the pleasure of faith entirely. Faith is active because God is active. Expecting God means that that you will observe Him, feel Him, and know Him before you see Him. Like a child in a mother’s womb… you know it’s there… and you expect to meet it.
Today, we lean into life full of expectation. To expect God means that you live as if the Kingdom of God is at hand, just as Christ explained. To expect God, means that you are certain and look forward to the occurrence of meeting God today… and every day. Hope is for the people who stare into the sky as if God is “up there” and might come back one day. Expectation is for the people who live like God is present right here, right now.
If all you can muster is a “hope” for God, you aren’t ready to Live Bold. However, if you are expecting God to be a part of your life, then you are Living Bold and exercising faith at every turn. We don’t “hope” at Live Bold Ministries, we “expect”. What about you?