And so this week, we found ourselves swimming around in
continued contemplation about “expectation.” Do our Expectations shape outcomes? What happens when we give up Expectation? Are we disappointed? Surprised? At peace? It seems that we seek patterns and assign expectation based on what
we’ve seen happen in similar situations.
We don’t just have expectations for ourselves. We have them for those around us, and sometimes, even though they are unspoken, we somehow Expect others to know what we want of them. And to add another layer of difficulty, those around us have their own unspoken expectations of us they expect we will fulfill! It is amazing we stay in relationship at all sometimes!
The text from Genesis follows Jacob as he returns to his
kin. Remember that Jacob has had a
vision and has heard God promise him the land that he had seen. Now he has continued on the journey, seeking
out his mother’s brother, Laban. He
first finds Laban’s daughter, Rachel, keeping Laban’s flock. Both Rachel and Laban greet Jacob with
enthusiasm. Kinship means a lot in this
ancient culture. Of course, we can’t
overlook the fact that Jacob finds Rachel attractive. Leah is described across various versions as
“lovely,” “weak,” or “soft,” while
Rachel is described as graceful and beautiful. The description is similar to that of Sarai and of Rebekah.
Jacob asks to take Rachel as a wife, and at first, Laban
seems happy to support the idea. But
when the chosen night comes (7 years later), Laban slips a veiled Leah into
Jacob’s arms instead. When Jacob
discovers the truth (too late – he’s consummated this relationship), Laban
reminds him that it would be inappropriate to give the younger before the first
born. Let’s think about Jacob’s
past. He stole his older brother’s birthright
and tricked his blind father to receive his blessing. And he’s incensed that Laban has pulled a
fast one. But he doesn’t give up (we’re
learning this about Jacob). He works
another seven years so that he can take Rachel as a wife (read on past the
selected text – the justice he is dealt through these women and their reproduction
is kind of comical and the result is ultimately the tribes of
The psalmist is praising a God who has been faithful to the
promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because these believers were
faithful in return, God has blessed
The selected text from Paul’s letter to the church at
In the passage from Matthew we see Jesus attempting to
bridge some of the gap of unspoken expectations. He is talking to a group of followers about
Life for us has been a puzzling series of events, of forks in the road where neither path seemed to be the right one. And yet, we keep moving and we keep developing a sense of who we are and what we are called to do in this place. Our Expectations have been shattered, met, or exceeded by turn. And life goes on.
-How do you / we allow for our life working out in ways we
do not expect?
-Are there ways you have had to wait for “the answer” to be revealed to you (like Jacob, or the farmer, or the baker)?
-Are you committed to God’s conclusions, or are you committed to your own?
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud