Expectations, this is the time of year when we start to see that things aren’t panning out the way we hoped!
Those New Year’s resolutions have lost their sparkle and grown dull. Hope gets elusive when you have lived on this earth awhile. We want to put our hope fully into things, but experience has taught us that we will just be disappointed.
I’ve been both crushed by expectations that haven’t panned out, and leveled by the unexpected that popped up in its place.
I know why I lose hope. In every one of those cases my expectations were set on the circumstances and not on God himself.
I set all my hopes on the outcome that I was expecting, not on God doing His best for me. I came crashing down in disappointment because the picture I was crafting didn’t get developed. Instead of asking God for his best, I’ve settled for asking God for my best.
Many Jews missed the Messiah because of their expectations. They stopped listening for God’s voice and set up their own ideals. Because Jesus didn’t look like their expected Savior, they missed him altogether.
Setting our expectations in the right place has everything to do with our peace and joy in this life.
The Jews that didn’t recognize Jesus had let their hearts grow dull. Jesus didn’t match the picture they set up, their expectation. He was unexpected.
Jesus himself spoke this fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah over them:
“ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
Instead of keeping their expectation on God, they settled for things that would fulfil their earthly desires. They wanted a King who would physically change their circumstances, and they were willing to settle for that over a King who would change their eternal circumstances. They became nearsighted, and hard of hearing because they stopped looking to eternity. They settled, and their hearts grew dull. They set their expectation about Jesus ahead of Jesus, and when He came they couldn’t even recognize Him. He didn’t fit their expectation. Their eyes and ears were closed to the unexpected.
I’m guilty of the same mentality. Sometimes I set my expectation ahead of Jesus. When I do this, it limits my prayers. I ask for small things, and in so doing, I forget who God is, and what He is capable of doing. I settle for so much less than what God is offering. He holds so much more for us than we expect. I don’t always use my heart to understand, I usually use my head (logic), and that limits me.
When the unexpected comes, Satan jumps on the opportunity to throw fear, doubt, and confusion at us. Instead of accepting fear and doubt, if we respond unexpectedly with confidence in God’s love, we disarm him.
Let’s reset our expectation on Jesus Himself and open the door for God to amaze us. When we choose to understand with our hearts, he heals us (verse 15). Let’s pay attention to our hearts and keep them from growing dull. Let’s set our expectation on Jesus and realign our prayers to correspond with His greatness instead of our plans.
Father, please don’t let my limited expectations cloud your greatness. Don’t let my heart grow dull with things down here. Help me see with my eyes, and hear with my ears, and understand with my heart. Fix my expectation on you alone.