Expectation with hope
“The hope of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish.”(Proverbs 10:28 NKJ)
Good day Saints,
Are you filled with hope, expecting something good to come out of a certain decision you’ve acted upon? You’ve done everything in your power to guarantee the outcomes that you want to see, and then the fruit of all your time and effort does not produce the intended results. Your expectations were not realized and now your hope is dashed. Oh friend, the enemy is waiting at the door with discouragement, despair, self-loathing, self-judgment and criticism. It is a scary place to be; even a dangerous place to be. It’s in those places where we make vows like, “I will never again…”; “That’s it; I’m a failure – I am always doing the wrong thing”; or even worse, “I will never trust God again cause my expectations are never realized”. Hope and expectations – we live or perish by them. But what is the difference if there even is one?
Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between the two words. Expectation is built on cause and results – if I do action A, I expect B to be the result. There are things in our control whereby we can mostly control the outcomes: like if I get in my car to go buy groceries, I expect to come home with a bag or two of food. For the most part the expectation is totally dependent on me and my abilities to get the result I want. I can expect good and bad results to my actions. Although I cannot control the outcomes of other people’s actions, I can expect to see good or bad results based on certain criteria – I can predict an accident on the way to the store based on my or the other driver’s distractions while driving. I can expect a dog to run out on the road, or a drunk driver to be coming home from the bar, and swerve into my lane, but I cannot control those things and their effect on me. I hope you get the picture…expectations are based on my and other’s actions. We can have great expectations for ourselves and others, but we have ultimately no control over the achievement of those expectations, which can lead to great joy or great sorrow and disappointment. This type of life I just described is based on “chance” – a godless life where I am my master and controller of my destiny as long as fate or “the universe” doesn’t throw me a curve ball. The world lives like this - by misplaced expectations with probabilities but no certainties. It is not a fun life when you are the one responsible for the outcomes.
As believers, followers of Jesus, we are of those who are filled with hope, not in our own ability, but with trust in an all-powerful God who is able to do the impossible. Hope is not dependent on us and our ability! Hope is linked with faith in a God who loves us and cares for us and is able to grant us the desires of our heart as we delight ourselves in Him (Psa. 37:4). Both hope and expectation are based on future desires; the difference is that hope believes in a God who holds the future in His hand. Without faith we can expect nothing says James (1:6-7). With prayers and divine provision, we can have eager expectation and hope, says Paul (Phil. 1:19-20). We are able to progressively grow in our level of hope in God as we learn to persevere through our trials and we allow Holy Spirit to do His sanctifying work in us (Rom. 5:1-5).
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12). Hope is future oriented. As we wait for God to fulfill His plans and answer our prayers, there is a possibility for discouragement (heart sick), but that is when we really need to learn to trust and wait patiently. Wait and hope are used interchangeably in the Bible to the point where I would define hope as waiting for God to act. It’s not up to me, but up to Him! Isaiah 40:31 is a prime example of this – there is a reward for hoping/waiting for God to accomplish His purposes in our lives.
Friends, we are promised a glorious future. We are not guaranteed an easy, care-free life when we choose to follow Jesus. Often that’s when the real challenges start, to which the word of God attests frequently. In this world you will have trouble! We may never see those things we eagerly desire this side of heaven. We ultimately have to lay down our expectations, and hope in God to someday answer our prayers, especially for the salvation of loved ones. Ultimately, according to Jesus, we are to live in the moment, for the day called “today”. God promises to meet the needs of each day, whether tomorrow comes for us or not (Matt. 6:25-34). Our job is to put our hope in a God who will meet all of our needs, foregoing the fear, anxiety and worry that so easily wants to ensnare us. Who am I going to trust with my life? Me, which leads to unfulfilled expectations, or God, which fills me with Hope and Joy! Let’s put our trust in God – “the hope of the righteous will be gladness.”
Have a blessed week!
"Advancing the Kingdom of God by releasing Spirit-filled followers to serve Jesus in freedom and joy."