When Expectations Meet Reality

expectI have been the pastor of First Christian for over 25 years. During this time period, I have shared in the joys and sorrows of many people. There is an interesting relationship between joy and sorrow. One or the other of two occurs when reality intersects with a person’s expectations.

There was the case with Job who expected only the blessings of God and lamented his plight when he faced some trials: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.” (Job 7:6,7)
The problems of life can be like a pebble in a shoe. When it rubs against the tender spot of a dream, our steps are altered and we experience unwanted pain.

When Job’s pebbles turned into boulders, he needed a fresh perspective, so he began to look at his life from a different point of reference: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes… After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:2, 5,6,10)

While it is a bit of a cliché, there is a mountain of truth in the statement: What doesn’t make you bitter makes you better. I think this was the mindset of Paul when said: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)

The truth of life is this:
• Whatever you buy can be broken.
• Whatever you say can be twisted into a lie and misspoken by another person.
• Whatever you do can be perceived by someone as evil or a power grab.
• Whenever you go somewhere, there is the chance of getting lost.
• Wherever you live there will be some Goliath who is a challenge to you.

Like it or not, the potential of disappointment lives in the shadow of life. Kay Arthur has said: “The disappointment has come—not because God desires to hurt you or make you miserable or to demoralize you or ruin your life or keep you from knowing happiness. He wants you to be perfect and complete in every aspect, lacking nothing. It’s not the easy times that make you more like Jesus, but the hard times.”

During difficult times, we should remember that, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Rom. 5:5)

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