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Holy Week Is About Unmet Expectations

When I have unmet expectations for God, I begin to spiral into shame and fear. I don’t doubt God in general. I doubt myself. I doubt that God’s love is really and truly the foundation of my life, the foundation of our life together. 

Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a similar position as they approached Jerusalem and celebrated Passover together during the final week of his life. They expected to cheer and fight alongside a conquering Messiah. Instead, they watched their leader stoop low to wash their feet. They heard him talk about pouring himself out like an offering. They sat up, a little bewildered, as he pleaded with them to stay awake while he prayed. 

And then, when the troops arrived to arrest him and the beatings that led the way to brutal execution began, they didn’t just doubt him. They doubted themselves. They doubted the whole story they thought they were a part of. It all was headed in the wrong direction. It was supposed to lead to glory, and instead it led to the cross.

Holy Week is a week for all of us who sit in this place of confusion and doubt and fear and shame, wondering whether God’s love is real, wondering whether God’s grace is for us, wondering how it could all go so wrong. 

In the midst of their unmet expectations, the disciples stayed near Jesus. They saw him heal the ear of the servant. They heard the story of his words of forgiveness on the cross. They waited through Holy Saturday as he lay in the tomb. 

Jesus will not meet my expectations. He will not conform to the ideas I have about how my life is supposed to look. And the question is whether I will continue to look to him even amidst the disappointment and confusion and doubt. And if we stay near, like the disciples, we will someday see more goodness, more glory, more love and life and restoration, than we could ever dare to expect.

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