Thursday, August 20, 2009

Expectations and Hope -- Hope Does Not Disappoint

When we have unfounded expectations for healing we will ultimately have to reconcile our false beliefs with the truth of God’s Word. Sometimes when expectation meets truth we don’t chose either one but turn our back on both. The one (expectation) has let us down and we don’t really like the truth that faces us. So, we turn our back on both.

Most of the time, this happens because we hid in the shame that accompanies the unmet expectations. Expectations hid in shame. Biblical hope lives in joy.

For the sufferer this distinction is the difference between life and death, peace and turmoil, contentment and confusion, anger and joy. Failed expectations will ultimately produce anger. When we are shame filled believers we are experts at hiding that anger from others and even ourselves. Yet, down deep inside and sometimes not so deep there is a turbulent of anger at the injustice of unmet expectations. A sufferer hears of God healing others and wonders, “Why not me?” Some well meaning Christian friend (like Job’s friends) will blame and shame with a prescription for deeper prayers and more faith. Anger grows. Since, in most Christian circles, anger is considered unspiritual we try our best to hid it while feeling shame because it is there. Expectations are coping mechanisms that prescribe false hope and leaves devastation in their wake. As you can see a vicious cycle is the result of this belief system.

Biblical hope, on the other hand, will ultimately produce real joy. Peter wrote that we are to “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pe 1:13) Hope is an absolute confidence in a personal relationship with the sovereign God Almighty and His ability to love me unconditionally and completely, to always be moving toward me in His goodness, and promises to me eternal life. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of our hope. “Christ Jesus, our hope,. (1 Tim 1:1) Paul’s salutation to the church at Rome was “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro 15:13) Now remember that there is a huge difference between joy and happiness. Happiness depends on circumstances. It comes and goes with moments that bring an emotional reaction to certain types of events. Joy is the deep seated reality of the presence and peace of Jesus. Jesus said that He came that we might share in His joy and thus our joy be made full.

In suffering, the scriptures describe Jesus as knowing “the joy set before Him endured the cross.” (Heb 12:2) A courageous endurance is a virtue born out of a hope that focuses on the future and a steadfast hope that endures the present. Joy is a deep-rooted attitude of the heart and since it lives in reality it can co-exist with physical suffering. “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)

While suffering physically a sufferer may go through a gamut of emotions. Feelings of a loss of control (as if we ever have control), feelings of helplessness, rejection, anger, disappointment, depression, etc. are all normal emotions of the chronic ill. Expectations can co-exist with physical suffering until they are not met. Then the feelings are left to exist in the disillusion that is left.

Since hope is based on truth and truth will always set you free, it (hope) can co-exist with normal feelings of the sufferer. Job said, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (13:15) Hope does not fail even when facing death. Paul set a sequence in Romans 5: justification by faith equals peace with God; we now stand in grace; knowledge of justification, faith, peace, and grace gives us the ability to exult in our tribulations because we know that they bring about in us a perseverance that produces a proven character; proven character is based in hope. Unlike expectations, “hope does not disappoint.”


Paul Burleson said...


Two things.

One is, and I'm embarassed to say it, but I've just now discovered your blog. I have no idea how I have missed knowing you have one as your thoughts are worthy of being put down for others to read for sure.

Second, this is a great post. {I've taken time to read the others as well.] It reminds me of the way Oswald Chambers thought and became a blesing to so many. Keep this kind of stuff coming.

I've put your blog in my "Regularly read blogs" folder.

Thanks for the insights.

Paul Burleson said...

Make that "embarrassed." I posted the comment before I caught it. Now I'm embarressed twice. :)

Chuck Andrews said...


No need to be embarrassed. As you can tell I haven't exactly been a regular poster. But I'm trying to be more consistent with my "pulpit."

Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. That's an awful big compliment. And I do appreciate it because I know you wouldn’t just say it to flatter.