expectationsAA warns us: Expectations are resentments waiting to happen. Without doubt, unwarranted expectations are the downfall of many. The House of Israel learned of a coming, promised Messiah. They built the expectation that He would be a very powerful man, who would control armies and nations. When the humble babe was born, and He lived out His life perfectly with nowhere to lay his head, His chosen people could not recognize Him. This carpenter’s son from Nazareth did not fit their expectation. He truly was the promised Messiah and fulfilled His role perfectly. That was not the problem. The problem lay in that He did not meet the expectation of a conquering hero. Their expectation blinded them and led them to crucify their very Savior.

Expectations, when unmet, result in all kinds of emotional difficulties.

Bob and Sally, who were happily long married, arrived a half hour early to a meeting. Bob was thinking, “Great, I can catch part of the ballgame.” Sally thought “Great, we can have a quiet, intimate moment and cuddle.” Bob became irritated when Sally was trying to put her arm around him while he was trying to find the game on the radio. Sally got mad when Bob pushed her away so he could fiddle with the stations. The result? Two people who were upset, all because of unmet expectations.

Some confuse hope with expectation. They are quite different. We get in big trouble when we turn a hope into an expectation.

John really worked hard on his recovery and convinced himself that when he reached his one-year anniversary of sobriety, he could relax and enjoy life again. He wouldn’t need meetings or the fellowship of others in recovery.“If I don’t use for a year, I am not an addict anymore,” was his expectation. He fell back into his addiction shortly after his one-year anniversary. His expectation betrayed him and caused him to stop doing the things that recovery maintenance requires.

We have every right to hope for healing, but when we turn our hope into an expectation, we generally find disappointment and frustration.

Sadrach, Meshack and Abednego demonstrated having hope without holding expectation. When they refused to bow down to his golden image, King Nebuchadnezzer was full of fury, promised them a date in the fiery furnace, and asked, Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

The three expressed hope without expectation perfectly when they said: Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it known unto thee O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up (Daniel 3:17,18).

Their hope was deliverance from the furnace, and they knew their God could deliver them. They also knew that it was His decision to make not theirs.

They held no expectation that their deliverance was something they deserved or were entitled to. “But if not …” is a phrase for each addict to understand. We hope for healing from our addiction, and we know it is within the Savior’s power. We also know He will give it in His due time. We often, because of expectation, get done before He does. We lack the eternal view. We wonder where our healing is, because we get tired of waiting.

Our attitude ought always be: “I know the Savior can heal me and deliver me from this addiction, but if not, I will continue to rely on Him, and do all in my power to recover.”

That hope, not an expectation will carry us home.