College Football begins this week. For some of you that might mean nothing, but if you’re like me; this week has been anticipated for months. I love college football; it’s my favorite sport. All of the summer speculation is over, all of the talking heads have made their pointless predictions and now it’s time to get down to business.
I went to Texas A&M University. When I was there our football team was not good, but I’m a Fightin’ Texas Aggie and I will be till I’m dead. I’m so excited to see our gigantic, awesome and amazing newly renovated stadium that is done now!
Since I attended, our football team has gotten much better, but we still have a long way to go. Watching us get crushed week after week during my college years was difficult, but it did leave me with one very positive reality: I don’t expect for us to win. That might not sound like a positive reality, but let me explain by telling you about the effect of the opposite perspective.
One of my best friends went to UT and played in their marching band the year they won the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. That ruined him forever. He was there during some dominant years and he got to watch first hand as they won it all. Now, if Texas even loses one game he flies into a fit of rage because to him, anything short of a National Championship is unacceptable.
His standards are much higher than mine. I am always thrilled when we win at all, and if we beat a ranked team or make it to a bowl game, I am floating on cloud nine. The thought of even reaching the National Championship game, much less winning it, has never crossed my mind. Of course I hope it happens one day, but at this point it’s pretty much on par with seeing a unicorn.
While rooting for a team who doesn’t win as much as you’d like isn’t the most fun thing in the world, it has definitely taught me the power of expectations. If I have lower expectations, then I am so happy when we win, and if we lose, well I expected us to do that, so it’s not a big deal. We won 8 games last season, so all I’m hoping for this year is to do one better and win 9 games. We’ll see…
All of this has made me consider the concept of expectations. It has made me wonder what my expectations are in different areas. I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect this past Sunday in worship, but wow did God show up in a powerful way!
I know that many times in my life I expect for good things to happen. I believe in God, I live a good life, and I’m a nice person so good things should happen, right? Well we all know that’s not how the world works, and even though we all know this intellectually, I feel that many of us still have this thought in the back of our minds.
The problem, of course, is what do you do when God doesn’t show up in the way you expect? You see, in football, it’s very simple. You either win or you lose, but life is not that black and white. It’s very hard to look at a time or situation in our lives and say, God showed up or God didn’t. It’s easy to say whether or not God showed up in the way we wanted God to show up, but the truth is none of us fully understand the will of God.
We don’t always understand what God is doing, but God is always present. Sometimes your team loses. Sometimes our friends get sick and pass away. Sometimes we lose our jobs. Sometimes our families are so crazy we can’t stand it anymore. But God is there. No matter what happens, God is there. No matter what your expectations might be, God is there.
My friends we have to be mindful of our expectations. If I expect A&M to win every game, I am setting myself up for sadness. If you expect your life to be nice and easy because you’re a good person or because you believe in God, then you are setting yourself up to fail and you will just end up bitter at God. I pray that we can all learn to expect God to show up and be present, but stop setting expectations for how God will show up.
God is always more than we can expect or understand, and God always has a plan.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NRSV)
Have a wonderful week my friends,
Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2009