What do you expect today?

A Christian Science perspective: Expectancy is the active application of faith.

Many of us have been through the “We’re expecting” experience – receiving the good news, buying baby furniture and diapers, painting the room. Days filled with joyful expectation, awaiting the exciting event, a new page in our lives.

But this message is not about an addition to our family. It’s about expecting good, anticipating God’s blessing, spiritual inspiration, love, and new revelations of life’s secrets of happiness.

Recently, while I was watching the evening news, it became apparent that there was a negative tilt to almost every story. Each report carried gloom and doom, the dreary outlook that “there is no expected relief,” “a good outcome is not expected,” and solemn promises that “things will undoubtedly get worse before they get better.” They remind me of a statement from a 1913 novel by Eleanor Porter, “Pollyanna”: “When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will find it.”

We may all know people whose views reflect that worrisome attitude, always expecting the worst possible outcome, frowning and fretting over each situation.

Those negative attitudes are in sharp contrast to attitudes of seasoned professionals. It’s hard to imagine a winning baseball pitcher stepping onto the mound with low expectations, an acclaimed concert pianist taking the stage convinced that she will hit many wrong notes, or a seasoned fishing boat captain launching his boat expecting to return to port without having filled his nets.

Turning to the Bible we can see how, through thousands of years, wise men, prophets, even ordinary people in all walks of life expected good as they looked to and trusted God, the Creator, confident they would find solutions to life’s problems.

In one instance, courageous David, a young shepherd boy destined to become king, ran toward an enemy soldier, Goliath, a giant, to challenge his overwhelming strength and experience, expecting God’s power to carry the day in this lopsided contest (see I Samuel 17:1-50).

And, as Christ Jesus walked the hillsides and along the seaside, eager people gathered, expectantly, as recorded in Luke 8:40: “And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.” They were confidently waiting for healing and uplift, and their high expectations paid off.

Many good fishermen must love the story of Jesus’ disciples improving their catch by throwing their nets on the “right side,” as Jesus counseled, to what I call the “expecting good” side of the boat (see John 21:6).

These examples of expecting good are not the result of Pollyannaish or goody-goody thinking or a naive trust in chance. They are proofs of the fact that God, Spirit, chronicled in the Bible in such terms as Mind, Love, and Truth, delivers nothing but good, and when we are faithfully listening and watching for signs of His presence, we will experience them. 

In sharp contrast, thoughts of doubt, discouragement, fear, and uncertainty cloud our view of the divine purpose, make us miss the mark (a definition of sin), and become obstacles to realizing God’s power and presence, available for us to use, right here.

But how does it work? Jesus encouraged us to know and understand that we are God’s ideas who, just as the sun’s rays carry light and heat out from their source to light and warm the earth, are the emanation of God’s qualities, the rays of goodness shining forth to bless humanity. Jesus taught that God is Love, and we are Love’s expression, here, in this place, right now. God is Mind, and we are the reflected presence of that Mind, intelligent, aware, and alert. God is Spirit, and we, His offspring, are spiritual and eternal. 

Expectancy is the active application of faith. We don’t have to sit back helplessly, watching problems accumulate, feeling out of control, hiding from life, but we can actively participate, running forward as David did to meet Goliath, carrying that expectancy that God is more powerful than evil. We can live the realization that we are the very evidence of God’s being, and we can overthrow the claims of sin, physical distress, and the plethora of problems that rob us of our heritage as God’s loving ideas.

Jesus gave this counsel: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).

Theologian Mary Baker Eddy set the stage for our anticipation of good when she wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “When the destination is desirable, expectation speeds our progress” (p. 426).

A hymn by Mary Peters in the “Christian Science Hymnal” carries this promise, a promise proved over and over again in my life:

We expect a bright tomorrow,
All will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow,
All must be well;
While His truth we are applying,
And upon His love relying, 
God is every need supplying,
All, all is well.
(No. 350, © CSBD)

Adapted from the author’s blog.

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“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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