Last week, I randomly received three different articles from friends as well as two sermons, all of which happened to be on the same topic: dealing with disappointment in my circumstances. Whenever a topic shows up randomly in that many places, I can’t help but say, “Alright, God, I get it…you’re trying to teach me something about this =-).” And, He was!
I’ve never really thought of myself as a goal setter, but I most definitely have expectations—expectations for myself, my day, those around me, and my circumstances. When those expectations are met, I am happy and content. But when unmet, I am robbed of joy and quickly filled with disappointment. Often my solution is simply to set lower expectations—if I lower the bar I will more often feel the success clearing it. But, I’m learning quickly, that’s not the most fulfilling option. A much more fulfilling one is to set my expectations high and reach for them but not to rest all my hope in meeting them. Rather, I should rest my hope in this one truth that never waivers—that I am loved by my heavenly Father whether I meet my expectations or not, and there is nothing I could do or not do that would ever cause Him to love me less.
There was a verse I came across in one of the sermons I listened to that painted a great picture of this truth for me. In Luke 10:17, Jesus’ friends came to him incredibly excited because they were able to cast out demons in his name. I know some of you may think that sounds weird, but imagine your excitement if you were able to witness a person who was tormented, self-hurting, and deeply depressed suddenly become free of that torment—to witness a cloud being lifting off their soul and seeing their eyes flood with joy and happiness for the first time. How cool would that be! These men and women had an expectation that Jesus would heal people, because they had seen him do it before. But, their expectations were blown out of the water when they realized they were able to do the same, just by the power of Jesus’ name.
When they came to Him rejoicing in their exceeded expectations, Jesus replied, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Jesus was reminding them that, yes, although what they witnessed and did was amazing, it was not this exceeded expectation that should make them so happy, but rather the simple resolute fact that the Lord loved them and saved them and gave them eternal life.
This week, whether your expectations are met and disappointment is far from you or whether those same expectations go unmet and disappointment comes knocking at your door, I pray you will not rejoice or wallow in your circumstances, but rather rejoice in this truth, that you are loved by the God of the universe. And, if you put your hope in Jesus, your joy—the one expectation we all long to be met—is secure, regardless of your circumstances.