When Expectations Are Dashed
The other day, someone overheard me in a conversation about our church with a friend of mine at my local little watering-hole. This person had been listening to us for quite a while but I had no idea how intently.
I had been talking about the comfort of our environment, no pressure or expectations and the fact that we don’t criticize, but instead welcome, any nationality, religion or race into our family… we’re simply a small little clan of Brothers and Sisters believing in our Lord and paying Him praise each Sunday morning.
This gentleman decided he was going to chime in and graciously provide us with his opinion pm God. “God only serves the rich, people in power and members of high-society. He has never blest someone like me with anything other than having to work two jobs, get paid nickels and live in a run-down old apartment building with my dog!”
The first thing I did was turn to the bartender and ask her how long this person had been sitting here. She said he’d been there since 11:00 AM and it was now 6:15 PM. Quite some time don’t you think?
I then asked this gentleman the following questions:
- Sir, have you had a meal yet today? – “I ordered a hamburger for lunch and have leftovers from last night waiting for me at home, why?”
- When is the last time your dog ate? – “Yea, I fed him this morning before I left.”
- Have you had the chance to bathe today? – “What a stupid question! Of course, I took a shower this morning!”
- How long have you been working two jobs? – “Just started my second one… needed to be able to pay my bar tab (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle laughing at the bartender)”
Now, I’m armed…
- Your stomach has been satisfied
- Your dog has had its meal
- Your body is clean (cleanliness is next to Godliness I might add)
- …and you have a job to help sustain you? The fact that you need a second job to afford your bar tab is of no concern to God… I’ll guarantee you that sir.
So, someone who has not even confessed his love for Jesus Christ and is a non-believer/supporter of our God… even you, are taken care of without even asking for His help? I can assure you sir, God is still taking care of you because of His love for everyone.
The restaurant was silent.
We’ve all been given gifts from God throughout our lifetime. They may have been unexpected pleasures we had no idea were coming such as perfect days for our vacations; relief from illness or pain; good health for our children; good times with friends and family enjoying our freedom and basically living the lives He has provided us with today.
What happens when you don’t get what you’re looking for? Are you angry? Do you yell at God and ask Him why He isn’t giving you what you want? Have you prayed desperately for a job promotion, but time after time you get passed up by a less experienced employee…or are you giving God thanks for all that you already have?
If God is good, faithful, just, loving, kind, merciful, gracious, compassionate, and sovereign, why does he allow these confusing circumstances that rattle us?
God is faithful. That is a promise (1 Corinthians 1:9). But we need to know what he does and doesn’t promise he will be faithful to do.
Here are Some Ways God Promises to Be Faithful to Us
Here are several promises the Bible gives us about how God will be faithful:
He Tells Us We Will Be Saved
He doesn’t promise to save us if we are holy enough, strong enough, or involved enough in ministry. He simply says this, in…
Romans 10:9-10 – “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
He Will Sanctify (Bless) Us
He doesn’t promise that He will always act according to what seems good and faithful in OUR eyes, but He does promise to be faithful by sanctifying us completely and preparing us for our eternal home in heaven.
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 – “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
He Will Teach Us
He doesn’t promise to save us from all trials, but he does promise to be faithful by teaching us in affliction to Love and obey him.
Psalm 119:75 – “I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”
He Will Shield Us
He doesn’t promise us protection from all of Satan’s attacks, but He does promise to be faithful by strengthening and guarding us against the enemy.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
He Will Hear Us
He doesn’t promise to answer all our prayers in the way we desire, but He does promise to hear and answer all that’s in accordance with His will.
1 John 5:14-15 – “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
He Will Strengthen Us
He doesn’t promise that we will be confident and capable in everything we do, but He does promise to be faithful to give us His strength, wisdom, and power to accomplish all that He calls us to do.
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
He Is Faithful to Us Even When We Are Not
Faithful to Him
He doesn’t promise that we will never fail to trust Him, but He does promise to be faithful, even when we are faithless.
2 Timothy 2:13 – “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
He Will Walk with Us
He doesn’t promise that He will protect us from scary circumstances, disorienting paths, dark seasons, or times of loss, but He does promise to lead us in paths of righteousness, restore us, be near us, comfort us, and fill us with Himself.
Psalm 23:1-4 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
He Will Help Us Withstand Temptation
He doesn’t promise that we won’t be tempted, but He does promise to be faithful by not letting us be tempted beyond our abilities.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
He Will Forgive and Cleanse Us
He doesn’t promise that we won’t struggle with sin, but He does promise to be faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness if we confess our sins.
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
He Will Transform Us Through Suffering
He doesn’t promise to save us from suffering at the hands of evil or painful circumstances, but He does promise to be faithful to use our suffering as we trust in Him to produce endurance, character, and hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:3-5 – “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
He Promises to be Faithful to Our Ultimate Good
He doesn’t promise to protect us from all harm and disappointment, but He does promise to be faithful to work all things together for our eternal good – even when we can’t see or understand it.
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
He Will Renew Our Soul
He doesn’t promise to keep our bodies, minds, or earthly hopes from wasting away, but He does promise to be faithful to renew our inner-selves day by day, even as our outer-selves waste away.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
He Will Prepare Us for Glory
He doesn’t promise to end our suffering on this earth, but He does promise to be faithful to use this momentary affliction to prepare for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
How God Is Faithful
As I think about these incredible promises of God’s faithfulness, I am newly aware of how often I expect Him to act in ways He never promised to act.
- He desires us to let go of this world and grow in our love for Him. However, He often does that by removing from us and denying us the very things we desire on this earth, revealing that He is truly all we need.
- He desires us to rely on him, and not our own strength and wisdom. However, He often does that by allowing weakness into our lives or by placing us in situations that push us beyond abilities and comfort.
- He desires us to trust him completely and be anchored in the hope of salvation. However, He often does that by allowing circumstances we can’t make sense of, stripping away earthly hopes that distract us from the secure and eternal hope that He desires us to know.
Friends, if you experiencing circumstances that seem to contradict the goodness and faithfulness of God, would you join me in examining your heart to see how we may be expecting God to act in ways he has never promised? As we do that, may we confess our expectations to him and be comforted by all the ways He has promised to be faithful to us as his children. Thankfully, He is patient and gracious toward us as we grow to trust Him for who he truly is, rather than who we expect Him to be.
Praise the Lord that even when we are faithless, he will remain faithful.
Go with God…. Be good to one another… Humble & Kind