I recently asked the above question at the youth group where I am a volunteer leader. The students and leaders brought up some interesting points. First of all, it all depends on what you mean by trick.
Here are some interesting definitions http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/trick
Scripture certainly shows us times where God tests people or allows them to think one thing when the opposite may be true. We struggle with the concept of God as a trickster because such an act implies deception. Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not a liar. Then how could God be both holy and a trickster at the same time?
The Hebrew prophet, Jeremiah, accused God of deceiving him as he lamented his beating and public humiliation for preaching God’s call to repentance. In Jeremiah 20:7, the prophet said, “You pushed me, deceived me, induced me or tricked me (depending on your translation).” The Hebrew word here means to “delude, entice, persuade.” It seems to me that Jeremiah’s expectations were wrong not God’s promises or actions. Jeremiah thought one thing, but God meant something entirely different. Jeremiah thought that God’s promises meant that no harm would come to him. But God simply meant that he would deliver Jeremiah and would never leave him alone.
Sometimes we hear what we want to hear not what God really said or meant. This tends to be the biggest problem when it comes to being disappointed with God. It is not that God lies to us, but our expectations sabotage our joy. I was recently talking with a friend named Jake Mason about this story. Jake said, “There is a big difference between expectations and expectancy.”
His comments really made me stop and think. Expectations are dangerous because they tend to set us up for disappointment and disillusionment. Expectations focus on our wants and desires with a specific timeline and details that need to take place. Expectancy is a general hope and belief in the promises of God without the specifics that usually accompany expectations. Expectancy causes us to look to God and believe for a godly end.
Most people I know tend to suffer from either one extreme or the other. Either they expect too much or don’t have any sense of expectancy at all. Both are ditches on God’s road to life. Expectations are basically premeditated resentments. A lack of expectancy means that we go through life without ever hoping or striving for something better – we accept what comes along without ever actualizing our faith to produce change. Both are dead ends. Which one tends to characterize your life?