I feel the title for this post is rather self-explanatory. While racking my brains after my last post, this topic landed smack-dab in my lap. No need to divulge too much here, but it made for a rough week coming to a deeper understanding that my expectations don’t leave me much option but to be disappointed. And often. So I questioned why have expectations at all? If I should have expectations, what should I realistically be expecting?
It’s tough not going into details about the circumstances surrounding this post, but trust me when I say that I firmly believe they are of little consequence. What is of consequence is the feeling of not having those expectations met. I had been rather hopeful of what I knew was to come and when I found out last week that wouldn’t be happening, it was that much harder a fall. Yes, I felt a little bitter and indignant, but I soon began to ask at whom all my emotional fury was directed. I’m sure you’ve already seen this coming, but (surprise, surprise) I was once again pointing the finger at God. I even used the words, “ I feel like You’re the kid on the ant hill and I am the ant directly under the concentrated beam of sunlight from Your magnifying glass.” The fact that I felt so affected was somewhat extraordinary in and of itself, but that is a whole other conversation. Admittedly, Thanksgiving was an emotional week for me for various reasons, so I had little trouble for once pouring out my unfiltered response at God’s feet. No, it was not pretty, but there were no punches held in the wake of my shattered expectations.
As somewhat of a side note, there were some external factors that contributed to my response, but once again that is another conversation. I was left at this point to deal with the aftermath of my hope and follow my own advice.
Wouldn’t life be significantly more enjoyable if we didn’t have expectations, thus never being let down by their not being met? Yes, this is a question I asked once again, and honestly, I think this to be partially true. God knew this question would be asked and He made sure it was answered in Proverbs 23:18 in response to the desperation of the Jews, Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Then, God speaks to us in the quintessential verse of Christian hope Jeremiah 29:11 saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Notice the last word. God wants to give us a hope. I don’t know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like an expectation there. God sets our expectations for us. I qualify this hope at last with Proverbs 10:28 which says, “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” That’s all well and good, but what does that mean exactly?
The Bible throws out the word “wicked” and other synonyms a lot, but what does “the expectations of the wicked” mean here? This is a real question, because I know that God is good and just, so if my expectations are not being met, does that mean my expectations fall into this category by some means? I believe that Hebrews 4:12 sheds some light on this when it says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” So, if I were to use God’s word as a litmus test of sorts for my expectations, would I really need to ask this question? If I fully trusted God’s word to be the Truth and God Himself to be who He says He is, I think the answer is unequivocally no. I would say that “the expectations of the wicked” can more tangibly be considered as any hope or expectation not inspired by or holding to God’s word and promises contained therein (sorry, I got really excited this word came to mind).
There are far too many promises that God makes in the Bible to list them all, but one that I was just reminded of is that which was made to Abraham (Abram at the time). Galatians 3:15–29 I think believe really exemplifies what I’m getting at here. The promise given way back in Genesis 12:7 to bless the man and his offspring was not nullified with the advent of the Law. The promise was not nullified with the crucifixion of Christ and the subsequent new covenant. The promise is still valid today! God’s promises are not constrained to any earthly conditions. Really, it would seem that God’s promises are absolute, not subject to anything but His infinite grace. If I take a look at all the factors and circumstances that arise over time, God has every right to renege at some point because a lot of people over the course of time have done a lot of stupid things. I don’t hold a candle to several of even these people, yet this passage assures even me. God’s promise is according to His will which both are constrained only by His infinite grace. Through Christ’s resurrection, we have been sealed in this eternal promise of God’s riches as our inheritance.
I don’t think it’s possible for us to rid ourselves of expectations. We’re human and having lost the intimacy once experienced in the garden, we will always expect and hope for greater than the reality of this world. However, we need to weigh these expectations with God’s word. Sure, He has good planned for us, but we can’t confuse that good with the temporal good or our happiness. God’s ultimate good is bringing Himself glory and, though I’m still coming to terms with this, that often means that He wants to grow us along the way toward achieving that. And I know we all can agree that it often involves temporary pain along the way (Hebrews 12:11).