Anticipation differs slightly from expectation. Yesterday we spoke about expectation and the disappointment that arise when expectations aren’t met.
The Disciples of Jesus and the early Christian community anticipated an imminent end to the world. In that anticipation they saw Jesus returning in full power to set things right and to restore “order.” The disappointment they felt when things didn’t turn out as they wanted was accented because their anticipation had moved to expectation.
You can anticipate as much as you want and will not be disappointed until you expect a result. You are watching a movie or reading a book, and as you are pass the midway point you anticipate the ending. If it turns out differently, “disappointment” is not the word to use to describe the twist. However, when you expect an ending, disappointment is what you feel when it turns out differently.
This may seem like a minor or petty point but the difference between anticipation and expectation is not inconsequential. Expectation implies control. You may anticipate something or event, but when you expect that same event, you are expressing a wish that is connected to your own means.
This Thursday we celebrate the Ascension of Lord Jesus Christ. On the eve of the Ascension Jesus asks the Disciples anticipate the Promise of the Father, instead, they expect something else…
We read in the Acts of the Apostles, “Being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1)
Jesus calls us to a life of trusting God, trusting so much that we can anticipate being blessed in His presence. Trust God and anticipate His goodness. On this eve of Ascension, you have a chance to examine your feeling and if need be, catch yourself, to stay in the joy of anticipation. All things happen in God’s time. Listen to God talking and read not into it your desires.