(Recently I started reading a book called "Better Than my Dreams: Finding What you Long for Where you Might not Think to Look" by Paula Rinehart. Some of these thoughts stem from the first chapter.)
I've often pondered the ideas of expectations....the ones we have for ourselves & the ones placed upon us by those around us. Well what about the ideas & expectations we have about God and his plans for us?
Not often have I heard people speak openly about these expectations that we put on God or assume that He should fulfill for us....expectations that He will prosper us, give us a great life, save us from every pain. But though we don't say it out loud most days, inside I'm sure many of us have at least a little bit of expectation that those things should come to pass, and when they don't, when things don't work out the way we think they should, we're a little disappointed. Do you agree?
Well here's a thought...."Disappointment is strangely enough, a doorway to the real adventure. It's the point where you start to leave behind most of your notions of how your story should read--and enter your relationship with God as a journey." But somedays when I get to a point like this, I don’t always think about the “great journey” ahead...sometimes I pout, and mourn over what disappointment or grief I’ve just been handed over. Sometimes I think like the author of Lamentations does when he wrote in 3:17-20 “...my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is so I say, 'My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.' Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.”
We probably all get here at one point or another, but “...who among us travels very far in life without running headlong into the gap between what we hoped for and what came to pass?” We are not alone, there are many others who’ve had unfulfilled expectations. Have you come to that gap? I have. Multiple times. I thought certain things should have happened by now, or people who were in my life would have been doing something different, or that I would have been something different, but it just isn't so. When these things don't work out the way we want them to, pain inevitably follows....or at least in many cases.
But. (what a great word.) BUT we can continue reading in Lamentations 3:21-24, which reminds us of something greater & even more sure than the fact that not all our hopes will come to pass....the fact lies in this statement: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.'"
Our hope can be found in the Lord. Why it is only there that we can find peace, and confidence when our expectations of God & the life He has for us doesn’t seem to make sense. When we are disappointed, just remember that God didn’t promise us a perfect ride here on earth. This is the part that will be hard, that we have to endure, journey through & trust Him for his provision. We live in a broken world & cannot expect that everything will go according to our plan. It won’t. It’s not how life works.
Yet like Lamentations says, God will not disappoint. He is faithful to be with us through these hardships. He holds the bigger picture that we cannot yet see. He will be faithful to us and renew us every morning with his love. He will sustain us and give us hope in our journey, and adventure where we may find something we didn’t think we would find.