Expectation is a hard thing to escape. It seems to be a part of the human experience no matter how much we fight against it. It isn’t hope, because it’s based on a belief of an understandable and predictable reality. And it isn’t dread, because it isn’t necessarily shrouded in fear. It is maybe the thought that one can be maybe even just the slightest bit in control. It is the giant source of disappointment, and one of the hardest parts of the human experience, at least to me.
I used to hope and maybe expect, that when these times would come in my life that I would take them with grace and humility, trusting immediately that God had it covered and taking joy in the struggle. I have turned out to not be the person that I thought I would be, that I hoped I would be, that I expected I would be. Turns out that my first reaction is not to lift my eyes upward in trust but to look outward in pride, inward for protection, and upward in anger.
No, I can’t come to grips with this. I cannot understand who it is that I do not recognize: the woman I thought I’d be or the woman I appear to be now.
This is Friday. This is not the day of the wilderness. Nor is it the day when light breaks forth. This is the day when everything crashes to the ground in a giant unreachable mess. This is the day that feels like it is owned by darkness. I must say that out of all three of these days I am most familiar with wilderness. I can’t say I’ve grown to love it, but I am more familiar with it. Friday though…. how do you grow familiar with a day that breaks you? And it has, thoroughly and inescapably broken me. I see before me the things and events and people who have hurt me and I feel it. But more powerful than these memories, I see me, almost as a second person reflected in a mirror, a person I do not recognize and someone I never wanted to be. I see a person who still does not know how to not be in control gracefully. Someone who has tried to steal control, and who has steared herself into a lonely pit. I see a person who is utterly broken and refuses to be healed.
Friday hurts. Friday finds me sitting here among the shattered remains of everything I thought I knew. Friday finds me looking at a picture of You hanging in the middle of shattered dreams and expectations. Friday finds me standing on a lonely hill and asking You why. Friday finds me looking to my side in anguish and asking You, for one more chance. Friday looks like watching the unthinkable happen. It looks like being slapped in the face. It looks like being betrayed with a kiss. It looks like nails that pierce, hammers that won’t stop pushing, relief that won’t come, jeers that won’t stop, and rejection that confirms fears. Friday looks like looking in the mirror and seeing the mocker. The soldier who wasn’t brave enough to say no. The friend who wasn’t brave enough to say he loves You. The mother who was helpless to reach her child. The leader trying to wash his hands of guilt. The friend who wishes she could have stayed awake to hold Your hand and pray with You. Friday looks like everything we close our eyes to and everything we’re too afraid to willingly relate to. Friday is out of our control.
Friday is a scary place to be, but I wonder if it is just as scary and equally dangerous to pass over. If my expectation were not shattered on Friday I may not know that I need Him on Saturday, and I may not accept Him on Sunday. If my expectations are still whole on Sunday, they compete with His truth for my attention and love. His will always be harder to trust. But it will always be truth. It will never be broken. It will never die or lose the fight, because it was won on Friday.
Jesus didn’t skip over Friday, but made sure we knew it was important to be broken before we could be fixed. That it was ok to not recognize who you are in the dark. That it was going to be ok when you were out of control and your expectations were destroyed. Jesus showed us that it was ok to hurt; that He understood what it felt like to be treated wrongly. That Fridays happen and we can’t run from them. And He showed us that just as He was called “Emmanuel- God with us” at the beginning, He is still “Emmanuel- God with us” on Friday, when we think it is the end.