“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:19-21
We all have expectations that do not get fulfilled. Co-workers let us down, or we don’t get that expected promotion for example. More serious expectations also go unmet, such as loved ones who depart from the faith, spouse issues, or medical conditions that don’t improve, but digress. Our pleas to God to act in our lives never materialize. What we may not realize is that God is working in the background. Our expectations can be a trap if we are not fully committed to God’s purpose in our lives.
Paul wrote from an all-too familiar spot, prison, to the church of Philippi. Because he lived every moment for God, his expectation was that his life would always bring glory to God regardless of his situation, through continued ministry or even death. His joy in living was not based on earthly expectations being fulfilled, but on remaining true in his relationship with the Lord and fulfilling the purposes for which God made him.
It is easy to react to circumstances with anger and resentment as a result of apparent unmet expectations. Our sin nature tells us we know better than God; we think God made a mistake in not meeting our expectations. Instead we must let go of the situation and allow God to work in our hearts the grace needed to walk in freedom from the pain of the unmet expectations. We must trust that God is working in our lives, and expects us to trust in Him. A failure to turn our selves over to Him will result in great bitterness and resentment. This seed of bitterness will create a void in our soul, which can taint our Christian witness and impact those around us.
As with Paul and the Philippians, we must reach out to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to heal our hearts of bitterness or fear from unmet expectations. My prayer is that God would show you the reason for any unmet expectation, and that your heart be healed.