One day I plan to write a whole book about how encountering God requires a constant surrender and reshaping of our expectations of Him. But until then, I’ll keep it brief. Whenever our expectations of God don’t align with the reality of who He is, we will be missing something. We will be frustrated. We will be running and grasping and wondering why our life isn’t going according to plan. Our pain and suffering and unfulfilled prayers will try to tell us that our God isn’t good, didn’t show up, or doesn’t really love us. But excruciating though it can be, surrendering even our most painful unmet expectations to God is like giving over control of the sculpting knife to the Master Artist and letting Him shape something beautiful.
I share in my book a little bit about my own type-1 diabetes and the ways God has used that to shape and alter my faith in surprisingly purposeful and pleasant ways. (Though I wouldn’t choose it for myself!) Even when it comes at great cost, I’m stubborn but slowly realizing I’d rather be stripped of my idols and comforts and see Him for the only thing I really need. If He is my deepest expectation…my vision…my Hope…then I believe ultimately I have all that I need.
Check out this video to be encouraged and challenged, and then dig into the free Gray Faith study guide for chapter 6 below!
Experiment #6- Part of experiencing the full life God wants means honestly giving Him our greatest disappointments, hurts, and fears. We have to get to a place where WHO God is outweighs the WHATS of our lives. I won’t pretend this is easy, and there isn’t a formula for getting there. But if we want to get to know someone better, sometimes asking a question is the best place to start. This week, tell God that you want to know Him better. Ask Him to show you through His Word something about Himself- part of who He is- that will meet you wherever you are at. Read the following verses and pray them for yourself this week:
Ephesians 1:17-19 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Chapter 6 Study Questions:
1. What does it look like to give God “an honest acknowledgement of struggle” instead of a “pretense of praise”?
2. What have been the “hard places” in your life? Have those places grown your faith or turned you away from God? Why?
3. Discuss your experience with God through prayer. Talk about your expectations, disappointments, and your level of honesty with God.
4. What does it look like to give up control and let God author your story? Is this idea scary or liberating for you?
5. Do you believe that God’s promises will keep you safe, thriving, and blessed? Use Scripture to explain why or why not.
6. How can we hold fast to God’s ultimate “good” promises when life doesn’t go as we want or expect? Can you believe in a good God when your circumstances are disappointing?
Bible passages for further reading:
Psalm 13 (David honest before God); Matthew 16:24-25 (Giving up to follow Christ); Romans 8:28 (He’s working for our good); John 16:33 (Jesus promises trouble/He overcomes);