Author: Linda Green, Women’s Ministry Director at The Orchard – Arlington Heights Campus
Life is often full of unmet expectations. We have our idea of what we think will make us happy but reality doesn’t always line up. Did you expect to be married by now? Did you expect to live happily ever after, but instead have experienced much pain or even divorce? Did you incur debt after college and the stress of work/bills is keeping you awake at night? When these things come our way often we wonder, where is God in all of this?
Scripture indicates that the things that disappoint us are often the instruments God uses to grow and mature us! In God’s wisdom, He uses suffering to produce endurance, and endurance to produce character, and character to produce hope (Romans 5:3-4). If we received everything we asked for immediately, we would never hunger for Him.
Let’s look at just a few ways that unmet expectations can serve God’s good purposes of pointing us to His Great Expectations:
Unmet expectations of worldly treasure: While much of the world lives at poverty level, many of us feel poor when comparing ourselves to people who have bigger houses, more expensive cars, and travel to places we can only dream of. Countless people invest their lives building treasure that will not last. This is why God urges us to “set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 1). God knows that true treasure is only to be found in the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord” (Philippians 3:8-10). “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Unmet expectations of getting married: I have pondered the fact that so many godly women I know (who would like to be married), have not yet received the desire of their hearts. While I would never claim to know why God has allowed this legitimate expectation to go unmet, I have been greatly blessed to watch these women trust God to give them what pleases Him! God knows that earthly marriage is but a faint shadow of the glorious marriage waiting for us in heaven and entrusts single women with the opportunity to know and depend on Christ as their husband in a unique way even now. Precious single sister, “Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready…” (Revelation 19:7). Praise God that according to His perfect plan, He is making you ready for the Wedding beyond all expectations!
Unmet expectations of a happy marriage: In his very appropriately titled marriage book, What Did You Expect?, Paul Tripp challenges the Hollywood lie which has led many couples to conclude that if they have not experienced unbroken bliss they must have married the wrong person. Tripp brings us back to the reality that after all the celebration; we are sinners who marry other sinners. God uses each marital difficulty to further our sanctification, allowing the pressures of unmet desires to reveal the sin that is in us. First Peter 3 reminds us that the only way to keep from despairing over expectations our husbands fail to meet is by putting our hope in God. How are you using disappointment in your marriage to draw you closer to the One your heart yearns for?Tags: Divorce, Gospel Discussions, Healing, Hope, Marriage, Missed Expectations, Women's Ministries