Expectations Can Kill Hope
Expectations can be killer! We want to put our hope fully into things, but experience has taught us that we will often 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. But you know what, in all 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 to disappointment because the picture I made didn’t get developed.
This passage about the Jews jumped off the page at me just the other day. I have always been hard on them for the whole missing Jesus and crucifying Him thing. I mean come on people you’ve had all the prophesies. Let’s get it together. How could they miss him, but they missed Him for the same reason that I sometimes do. I had failed to see the similarities of my heart to theirs. Here’s the passage:
"Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘“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.""
The Jews that didn’t recognize Jesus had simply let their hearts grow dull. Jesus didn’t match the picture they set up, their expectation. He was unexpected. Instead of setting their expectation on God, they settled for expecting things that would fulfill 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 set their expectation on things they could touch and understand, and they missed God’s greatness. 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 He 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 those, if we respond unexpectedly with confidence in God’s love, trust, and a sound mind, we disarm him.
By resetting our expectation on Jesus Himself, instead of our plans, we 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. Then, let’s believe Him, that He will give His best and expectantly wait for Him.
Don't settle for less than everything He is.
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.