1886) Blessed Are Those Who Expect Nothing (3/3)

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     (…continued)  Has Jesus ever failed to meet your expectations?  Has Jesus answered all of your prayers in just the way you expected he should?  Does God run the world in the way you would expect a loving God to run the world?  Most people do wonder about those things.  Jesus does not meet the expectations of many people, including me at times, and probably you also.  But we are in good company, because in spite of John’s doubts and disappointments, Jesus goes on to give him high praise, referring to him as ‘the greatest.’  Jackie Gleason called himself ‘the great one,’ and Muhammad Ali said he himself was the greatest; but Jesus said John the Baptist was greater than anyone ever born of a woman (Matthew 11:11).  And even this great John had his doubts and disappointments; and so, at times, did Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Job, David, Solomon, Mary, Paul, Peter, and all the rest.  All had their times of disappointment with God.

     But the message of the Bible is that God will come through on all his promises, and when He does, it will be in ways beyond what we could ever imagine now.  What God has promised will be far above our grandest expectations.  Paul once wrote, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has ever conceived—this is what God has prepared for those who love him.”

     But not yet.  John the Baptist did not live to see Jesus rise from the dead, and we also have not yet seen all there is to see.  But someday, with John the Baptist and all the rest, we will see.  If Jesus is not meeting our expectations, God’s response is, “Wait and see.”  In John 5:28-29 Jesus said, “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out.”

     If our expectations about Jesus are not met, it is not because we expect too much.  It is impossible to expect too much from God.  But we may be expecting it all too soon.  We think in terms of only a few years, but God knows that He has an eternity to work things out.

     After all is said and done in the Bible, the Good Book closes with words still looking forward to that future fulfillment.  Revelation 22:20 says:

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘I am coming soon.’
Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.”
When talking about expectations, Martin Luther once compared this life to a house fire or a shipwreck, where we salvage what we can.  We must not expect that we will attain all we want, get everything in order, straighten every curve, and solve every problem.  Rather, Luther says, just obey God, look forward to the future fulfillment of God’s promises, and in the meantime, be content with whatever you can salvage from the shipwreck of life in this wicked and uncertain world.

Matthew 11:2-3 — When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Psalm 30:5b  —  “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14  —  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me.  When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

Proverbs 23:17-18 — Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.  Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Isaiah 61:1 — The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.

I Corinthians 2:9 — As the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
–Revelation 22:20b