I spoke at length with a fellow Christian about things of the faith. Our conversation quickly turned to current events and even events from the recent past. I appreciated the discussion. My concern was the danger of holding onto certain temporal expectations. Our conversation left us agreeing to disagree but with me thinking about the importance of holding Scripturally sound expectations.
Expectation are not bad, they are a part of life. It is hard to imagine life without expectations. Our daily lives are built on expectations. The time we wake up is based on an expectation of how long it takes to get to where we are going. What we eat or don’t eat is based on other expectations. How we handle life’s problems are driven by expectations. It impacts the path we choose in life, how we navigate the twists and turns of marriage and where we go on vacation. Expectations are not necessarily bad, some are, but most are good and necessary for living each day. The challenge is that many times our good expectations rob us of what is best. They blind us from seeing life from God’s perspective and hinder us from responding in the best way. The challenge arises when our core expectations, like why are we here or what is our purpose in life, are not rooted in Biblical truth.
It is interesting at how our core expectations shape our interactions with others, more than we realize. They also shape our responses to life situations. They shape our attitudes and even our mental outlook. The Bible reminds us to allow Biblical truth to set our expectations. The Apostle Paul writes, “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24) He is, in essence, reminding us to place our hope in God’s promises not in life’s situations. It is easy to shape our expectations from living in a broken world. Our reason for hope, covered in the previous verses, is our adoption into God’s family. Knowing that our relationship is secure and eternal give us patience to wait as God works out His will for humanity. We know that God keeps his Word! Paul continues, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25) This changes everything.
The writer of Hebrews, in chapter 11, reminds us of the same truth in a section known as the “Hall of Faith.” It contains a list of Biblical individuals that allowed their daily expectations to be shaped by God’s heavenly promises to them (I would encourage you to stop and read the chapter now). The account of their lives of faith becomes our practical examples. It is in verse 13 that we are reminded of the profound impact that God’s promises have on our expectations. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”(Hebrews 11:13)
While the temporary situations of life can be overwhelming at times. The Bible reminds us that we are living for something greater. It also reminds us that we have someone to live for, Jesus. How about you? What are you expecting from life?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson