An expectation is a firm belief and/or anticipation that something will happen or be the case in the future. Wittingly or unwittingly, consciously, or even subconsciously, we all have hundreds or thousands of expectations daily—most are habitual. Without thinking, we flip a light switch on—we expect light to appear. It doesn’t always but, if it doesn’t, there is a scientific reason why—we either fix it or have it fixed—our expectation will be valid again—at least for a while.
Likely, most of our expectations are based on past experiences which have yielded such anticipated result. For instance, due to past learning experiences, we have all sorts of expectations such as: touch a hot stove and get burned every time; open a door in frigid winter and cold air rushes in; drive an automobile over the tolerated speed limit in view of a policeman and get a speeding ticket; hit your thumbnail with a hammer and it hurts. Those and thousands similar would be classified as conscious expectations.
What about unconscious expectations— the tricky part for most of us. Believe it or not, they also are based on learned experiences but, almost always, the learning has been done with an immature mind which yielded a false impression. For instance, many people go through life burdened by many different phobias such as fear of the dark, fear of heights, claustrophobia, etc. Those fears are based on a false narrative presented to their immature minds which then made erroneous conclusions—however, always real for a lifetime to the individual involved unless appropriate psychiatric treatment is rendered.
One of the most devastating expectations is the overwhelming subconscious expectation of punishment generated in immature minds by well-meaning parents and guardians. Immature children are frequently made to believe they are bad (evil) and deserve punishment—an indwelling feeling of guilt. That perpetual feeling of guilt creates an expectation of impending punishment which generates indwelling anxiety—hurt is coming—don’t know when nor where. Sadly, way too often, that anxiety leads to deep feelings of worthlessness and helplessness leading to deep depression with no visible ‘escape hatch’ except suicide.
Obviously, then, some expectations are good—others terrible.
Then, there are failed expectations as common as house flies based on politicians’ rhetoric. Too frequently, they tell us one thing to garner our vote and do exactly the opposite. Sometimes, those promises were made in honesty but, later, were found to be impossible to keep—I believe, more often, deliberate deceit. What they really want is our vote so they can control us and, ultimately, extract our money.
Without doubt, I believe the most common failed expectation comes from God’s refusal to answer our prayers, and the most aggrandized expectation is the false belief that he has answered them. Most of us have grown up in some sort of so-called Christian tradition and have been taught that God will answer our prayers if we beg him enough. Many of us get caught in the trap of viewing, as a ‘miracle’, the most miniscule and menial event which eventuates according to our wishes and expectations. That kind of thought process and reasoning is tantamount to saying medical, physical, chemical, and biological science has no foundation in fact. For instance, on literally a daily basis, I hear people beg for prayers because they are about to have a simple medical procedure performed by a known expert, and then thank everyone profusely for all their prayers when the procedure goes well. What do you suppose their expectations were—if no one had prayed, the procedure would have failed? Of course, as would be expected, the procedure went well—was it because we prayed, or because medical science has developed to make that outcome to be expected? Without doubt, I think the latter.
The purveyors of religion, however, have convinced us from day one that God answers our prayers—have you ever heard a suitable explanation for ‘why your/our prayer weren’t answered?’— I did. When I was twelve years old, I observed that, despite our entire community repeatedly coming together in earnest prayer, urgently begging God to ‘make it rain’ when our crops were drying up from drought, and such like-petitions, not a single time were our prayers answered—at no time, for anything. I was an acolyte (altar boy) at Saint Jerome Church in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, living on a farm and witnessing the devastation of our meager crops by droughts and floods alike—that question had super-serious significance for me. Why would God not make it rain for his most favored group? The answer my priest gave me was momentous in more ways than one. He said, “It is God’s will”—what a staggering blow— a knife in my heart. From that moment on, I knew that prayer of any kind except thanksgiving was a total waste of time and, moreover, a total misappropriation of God’s nature. I didn’t know the ‘why’ at that time, but I determined right that moment to find out. It took me another sixty to sixty-five years to do so but, finally, I did. I discovered who God is. I learned that God is not the string-pulling puppeteer whom we had been taught about just to entrap us in a snare of false expectations. I learned that God is A Perfect Rational Being.
That knowledge and understanding made it perfectly clear that God cannot possibly change anything about his own Perfect Nature. He cannot possibly be hurt or pleased. He cannot possibly be influenced in any way. Any such change would totally nullify his Perfection and make him an imposter—not a chance. Physical miracles are an absolute impossibility—period.
So, what then should be our expectation when we talk to God? Without doubt, we should do exactly as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane— ‘Father. If it be possible, let this chalice pass from me but, not my will but thine be done’. Jesus knew what his fate would be for attempting to liberate us from the horrible oppressive blanket of guilt imposed on us by the Jewish religion, but I seriously doubt he expected it to be as bad as it was. When we pray as Jesus did with humility and thanksgiving then, and only then, will we be exhibiting submission to God’s will, rather than the arrogance associated with expecting God to submit his will to ours. Do not let the purveyors of irrational religion create ‘false expectations’ in you as politicians often do to only let you down.
I could write on this and similar aspects of God’s Perfect Rationality forever. I have, in fact, published three books about it—please read them so you may live a much happier, less delusional, God-understanding life. Also, I have published about my childhood—you might be interested.
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