While standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes, I watched the suds roll down the drain as the tears rolled down my cheeks. Earlier that morning, a battle of the wills ensued between myself and my son, ending in frustration, anger, and more than a few thoughtless words.
Heavy with the weight of the sin in my heart, I placed the sponge in the sink and turned to my bedroom, where my Bible sat open upon my desk, abandoned before I even began that morning. I returned to those pages, desperate to return to the peace I’d hoped to find within them earlier. God is so kind to lead us through his Word and, in his grace, he pointed me back to the gospel in the most unexpected of ways.
I opened to Psalm 65 in my reading plan—a psalm where David sets his hope in God alone as his rescuer from various attacks. Since the peace of our home felt under spiritual attack, I wrote the following verse in my journal for further study:
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5 ESV).
A beautiful verse, but as I studied through various translations, a single word pricked my heart with the conviction I didn’t know it needed.
In the NKJV, Psalm 62:5 reads, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” My expectation is from him. From God. He is not only my hope; he is also the only sure expectation I can carry. The expectations I had placed upon both myself and my son were not from God, bringing a burden of bondage on us both.
Life is messy. We hurt each other with our words. We allow pride to rule our hearts. We get exasperated more than we empathize. We are humans who live from our broken places rather than the fullness that is ours in Christ. God knew this about us, which is why he gave his Son as our only sure expectation in which to center our hope.
When we place our expectations on the behavior of our children, the devotion of our spouse, or the loyalty of our friends, we set our hopes on shaky ground. If we anchor our faith in fallible people and uncertain circumstances, our lives will toss and turn, devoid of the confident peace we could otherwise claim. And if we demand perfection from ourselves, we trade the freedom of Christ for the pressure of our own performance, denying the sufficiency of the cross to redeem our weary souls.
Our expectations are antithetical to the gospel, which proclaims it is by grace alone, in Christ alone, we are free from the consequences of our sin. The resurrection of Jesus Christ sealed the promise that despite our imperfections, or anyone else’s shortcomings, we have hope. And it is found only by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—freeing us from the need to find it in anything, or anyone, else.
Later that afternoon, I drew my son into my arms. I recalled the gospel and released the burden I had placed on my son to be my source of peace, my righteousness as a mother, or even to be the best thing in my life. He isn’t. Because only the Son, Jesus Christ, is. As I hugged him, I grasped the good news that where we both fall short, Jesus never will—freeing me to be his mom and him to be my child, instead of each other’s everything.
Ask God who in your life you can release from the chains of your expectations. Whether yourself, a family member, a friend, a coworker, or neighbor, bring your awareness back to the cross. Pray over him or her or them, then release them to the foot of the cross. Rejoice that Christ alone is our secure hope, and the promise of redeeming grace is the only expectation with the power to free us, not burden us.
About the Author:
Tina Reale is, above all else, a follower and servant of Christ. As a devotional writer, Tina seeks to share uplifting words that are rooted in God’s Word. She has a heart to help women grow in their understanding of Scripture, inspiring them to stand firm in their faith no matter the changes of culture or circumstance. Tina lives in the North Georgia Mountains with her husband and two children. Connect with Tina on her website at tinareale.com and on Instagram @tinareale.
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