Unmet expectations result in disappointment. Our expectations are often reasonable. But how do we develop reasonable expectations of God? We know what he’s like and what he’s promised to do from the Bible. Yet it seems that many people feel a strong disappointment toward God. Why?
Perhaps we need to reexamine our expectations. Are they shaped by what the Bible actually says? John the Baptist experienced this kind of disappointment. He had announced that the Messiah had come to judge the wicked (Matthew 3:7-10), and he had indicated that Jesus was this Messiah (John 1:25-34). But then John got imprisoned by a wicked ruler, and he hears about Jesus preaching, healing, and showing mercy to people. So he sits in a prison cell, disappointed and confused. He knows Bible promises like Isaiah 61:1-2 that indicates that the Messiah will free his followers from prison and bring God’s day of judgment into history. What gives?
John, along with most Jewish people of his day, assumed that all these things must happen all at once. This assumption colored the way they read their Bibles and governed their expectations of how God would accomplish his plan of redemption. The Messiah, Jesus, would have to suffer and die in place of sinners before the promised judgment would come.
Before you succumb to disappointment toward God, consider whether your expectations of him are shaped by who he’s revealed himself to be and what he’s promised to do in the Bible. He is a loving Father who gives only good gifts to his children. Children may ask their parents for what they think will make them happy, but shouldn’t the parents have the right to decide what they will give to their children? How much more does God have that right! He is totally sovereign, only good, and completely wise. When we feel disappointment with God, most of the time it’s his wisdom that we doubt. Does he really know better than I do what is best for me? As a parent is typically wiser than a child, so God is infinitely wiser than we are.
Mr. Justin Langley is Minister of Discipleship of Kilgore Bible Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.kilgorebiblechurch.org.