Expectation is in the air right now. The landscape has changed as the white covering of snow has been removed like a sheet, revealing the trees and grass kept hidden for months. Singing birds, turkeys displaying their feathers and dissolved snow now transformed into running water are all making the declaration that, finally, a new season has arrived. The signs are everywhere. There is something new, something fresh. Expectation is here. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are anticipating our celebrations of the Resurrection of our Savior.
Expectations in our lives can be both a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing when we expect God to be faithful to his promises or when we expect God to hear and answer our prayers in a way that is consistent with his character and nature. Our expectations give us hope and meaning as we anticipate being reunited with friends and family who trusted in God, but have already reached their final destinations. Romans 8:19(NIV) reveals, "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." Genuine expectation, founded in God's promises, is a wonderful blessing.
On the other hand, false expectations can be more of a curse than a blessing. They are expectations that we put on ourselves, others and even God that are not grounded in reality. They are a trap that can often leave us feeling hurt, disappointed or offended. Maybe you have experienced this. Perhaps you left a situation, disillusioned, let down or frustrated with a bitter taste in your mouth. If so, do not lose hope and read on.
Pastor Travis Hovde
For some of us, it is the false expectations of ourselves that has been the culprit. We demand perfection and set the bar so high there is no way we can ever actual reach it. Then, when the inevitable failure comes, guilt and condemnation come along with it. If this is you, do yourself a favor and just admit it, your family may not always look like something off "Leave it to Beaver" and your holidays may not look like a Normal Rockwell painting. You may not even have it together like the people down the street. It is OK because you are not always perfect. You have my permission to resign from your position as the only perfect person on this earth. If you could be perfect all by yourself, you would not need Jesus and you do.
Then there are the expectations we put on others. When someone fails to be the perfect friend, boss, parent, child, mother, father, leader, pastor and the list goes on and on and on, we get disappointed and hurt. Relationships with other people are an amazing gift in this life, but remember this is not a perfect world full of perfect people. Every relationship is going to have its cons as well as its pros. Jesus was well aware of this fact. When his disciples asked him about forgiving others, Peter asked if he should forgive up to seven times. Jesus responded by saying, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Mathew 18:25 NIV)
When God is the one we look to, we can expect perfection. Even so, we can have false expectations about God's timing and the way he goes about working out his plan. When Jesus was on the earth, the disciples had false expectations regarding the kingdom he was establishing and the way it would come about. When Jesus spoke of dying, Peter rebuked him, because he had a false expectation of his plan.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
We have to accept the fact that we may not always understand the way God is working in our life. Sometimes God keeps us on a "need-to-know basis" and we simply have to trust him.
Over 2,000 years ago some of Jesus' followers went to the place where Jesus was buried. At the time, they were disappointed and saddened that the one they followed had been crucified and died. But when they arrived at the tomb, they saw something they were not expecting, an empty tomb. Sometimes when we least expect it, the same God who turned death into life and great tragedy into the ultimate triumph, will show up in our lives. Let go of the false expectation and expect God to something beyond your expectations!
Pastor Travis Hovde is pastor of Eagles Wings Community Fellowship in Minot.