Thursday, April 12, 2012

Waiting, Hope, & Expectations

One thought that has been on my mind often in the past few months is the realization that our expectations, whether conscious or not, are so closely tied up in that which we place our hope. I don't remember the source, but I heard recently that the thing that we are waiting on is what we're ultimately placing our hope in.

-Waiting on our circumstances to change - because we're secretly hoping that will bring us what we feel we lack.

-Waiting on our spouse to change - because we feel this is required before we can step into all that we are called to be.

-Waiting on _____________ (what are you waiting on right now?)


-Waiting on the Lord to either change our circumstances, or perhaps better yet, to change our perspective of our circumstances, so that our hope is not in something that is ever-changing and unstable, but in Him that is Unchanging and our sure Foundation (Isaiah 33:6).

-Waiting on the Lord to cultivate in us an acceptance and love for our spouse, whether he changes or not, because God desires for us to cling to Him for our deepest needs and security. And in that, He promises to bless our obedience, as we honor our spouse. (1 Peter 3:1)

I'm not saying that desiring different circumstances or seeing Godly change in our spouse are bad things. Not at all. The danger is when we start to attach expectations to how this should look and start to believe we need those expectations to be met. At that point, from my perspective, we're no longer placing our hope in the Lord, to move and change things as He sees fit or to work in spite of these things, but we're placing our hope in the change - which may or may not ever come.

"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame (does not disappoint), because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5

I don't know what your experiences have been, and by all means, I am neither an experienced expert on this topic nor do I claim to do this even 90% of the time. But the few times, by the prompting and empowering of the Holy Spirit, that I have been able to recognize when I have misplaced expectations and surrender those desires to the Lord, rightly putting my focus and hope back on Him - in those times, I've been able to understand Romans 5:3-5 a little bit more clearly.

Because when I'm able to release what I grip so tightly, that I feel I need in order for ___________ to happen, that which I was holding is no longer obstructing my view. God now has the room to come in and give me a glimpse from His perspective, so that I can see what I truly need
because God's thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8), sometimes I don't understand. But in His mercy and grace, He provides the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), which is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

So - how does it work? How do we change the focus of our expectations? Or how do we go about even figuring out if we have misplaced expectations?

(As a task-oriented person at heart, I love practical application.)

I'm including the practical application because it's easy to look at all of this on an intellectual, logical level. To grasp that God should be the Source and that we should look to Him. But seriously, how to we direct our hearts to Him?

I've found it's pretty hard to pray about something for very long, as I continue to get into God's Word, and it not really be what God wants for me. He is faithful to renew our minds and shift our perspective so that our desires align with His. (Psalm 37:4) And because God loves us, and as any parent can relate in wanting to make sure their child's needs are met, He desires that we find the true Source for those needs. Him.

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope." - Psalm 130:5

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation."

 This is something I understand on an intellectual level, but I pray will become something that my heart is familiar with and that I know from experience as well -

When we learn to truly place our hope in Christ, the only Hope for our salvation, we never have to fear that it's misplaced or that we will be ultimately disappointed. He is Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will provide). He is the One in which our deepest needs will be met, because we were made for Him. He knows what needs to happen in our lives, in order to craft His character in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. We can trust that He will use the circumstances we face (good & bad) for our good, if we will surrender them to Him.

"The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." - Psalm 145:15-16

"Every day your Father does something new. He molds and shapes. He guides and refines. He rotates and contours and buffs around the edges. Every single day." - The Resolution for Women, Priscilla Shirer

"Lead me in your truth, and teach me; for you are the God of my salvation; on You do I wait all the day." Psalm 25:5
"The Lord intends to keep his people dependent upon himself. He has everything they can need. He intends to supply all their needs; but he will be applied to. He will have his people wait on him, and wait for him. In doing so, he will try their faith, fortitude, patience, and perseverance. He will sometimes put them to a severe test, but he will never fail them, forsake them, or leave them destitute. If they trust in Him, plead with Him, and wait on Him, they will be raised to a state of comparative security, for they need not fear any man, or any circumstance, or any state they can be in. The Lord will be to them their God. He will do for them all that God can do; and that is, all they can require, all that is consistent with their welfare and His own glory.

Believer, you may be independent of all creation by realizing your dependence upon your God, and waiting upon Him continually. You must believe the love He has to you, His watchful care over you, His delight in you, the promises He has given you, the provision He has made for you, the glory He will get by you, and the honor to which He intends to raise you. In so doing, the fear of man will die, joy in God will spring up, the peace of God will fill your heart and mind, your dependence on creatures will cease, and you will be happy in looking only to the Lord.

"My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from him." - Psalm 62:5

"Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt you to inherit the land– when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it"   - Psalm 37:4
                                                                                         -James Smith, of Cheltenham, New York, 1869

I know this morning - one of the rare times I'm up before the sun - I'm choosing to lay my requests before the One who has the ability to fulfill my deepest needs and greatest desires. I will choose to wait in expectation on Him, and fix my eyes on Him, not the object of my request, trusting that He will respond as He sees fit for my good. Because He is good. And He loves me.

The same goes for you. He is for your good. He loves you. So, will you join me in this? Just one day at a time, one step at a time, surrendering the expectations, plans, agendas, to-do lists, etc. to Him, and allow Him to establish what He desires in our lives?

And just a further challenge: why not spend a couple minute worshiping Him this morning? Allow Him the opportunity to remind you how much He does love you and allow that amazing truth to refresh your heart. We only love because He first loved us. When is the last time you soaked in His affection for you?

You are for me - Kari Job

No comments:

Post a Comment