BY definition an optimist always expects the best and a pessimist the worst. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. But have you ever asked yourself what you should be expecting? Is there some specific direction of expectancy that involves more than luck? Yes. The Psalmist pointed us in the right direction thousands of years ago, saying of God, ``My expectation is from him.''1 The Psalmist obviously expected good because he praises God throughout the psalm as his ``rock,'' his ``salvation,'' his ``refuge'' and ``strength.'' He sings of God's power and mercy and justice.
Many today either are not aware of God's power and glory or else do not realize how much our expectations depend on our concept of God. It is our understanding of what God is that determines both our expectation and the results.
A friend of mine once witnessed a heart-rending scene between two children that illustrates this point. One of the children, four-year-old Johnny, was being taught in the Christian Science Sunday School and at home about God's loving care for all His children. He had learned to turn to God whenever he was afraid or needed help. One day when he was playing, his playmate fell down and began to cry. My friend saw Johnny lovingly put his arm around his friend and heard him say: ``Don't cry, Billy. You're all right. God is right here taking care of you.'' With that, Billy took off and ran as fast as he could toward home screaming in terror: ``God's after me! God's after me!''
It's tragic that a child should have such a misconception of God that he could expect anything other than good from God, divine Love. But isn't this generally true of mankind, as well? And such misconceptions are often the roots of atheism or agnosticism. It seems better to believe that God doesn't exist than to think, as Billy obviously did, that God is some unseen presence ready to mete out punishment and suffering.
Christ Jesus came teaching that God is a tender, loving Father and that we are all His beloved children. The Master taught that mankind could and should turn to God in prayer for the solutions to all their problems and expect their prayers to be answered. He taught us to expect forgiveness for sins and to forgive others we believe have hurt us. He taught us to expect sufficiency to meet our daily needs, and a more abundant sense of life for those who are willing to adhere faithfully to his teachings.
Christian Science follows the Master in every way. Its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more?'' And further on: ``Do we expect to change perfection?''2
As we grow in our understanding of perfect God and of man's true identity as His image and likeness, our expectation of good increases. As we begin to recognize and accept God as ever-present Love, fear diminishes and disease progressively disappears from our experience. We look forward to understanding more clearly the nature of God, ``Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.''3 Sin loosens its hold, and freedom will be both expected and realized when we turn to God as our rock to lean upon, our refuge and strength. In the proportion that we recognize and accept the spiritual truth that God is infinite good, therefore only good is irresistible, we can both expect and find freedom from every difficulty.
Yes, ``God is after us,'' but there's no need to run. We can stop right now and learn what right expectancy is all about!
1Psalms 62:5. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 2. 3Psalms 103:3.