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What am I expecting? More specifically, what am I expecting from Jesus? Does he want me to expect anything? Is expecting something from him, even the best things I can imagine, presumptuous?

I realize that I have been wrestling with these questions for a good long while. It’s difficult to find answers. What usually gets in my way, ironically, is me. My own misinterpretations, my own emotions, my flesh.

Is there a difference between presumption and faith? If I believe God, what ought my expectations be? Oddly, it sometimes feels like I’m expecting him to harm me. It doesn’t matter that that’s opposite of how God presents himself; sometimes the idea just creeps in. Fear, doubt, apprehension, all tend to immobilize me, or at least make me hesitant to act.

But what about his word? What do God’s own words tell me about the truth of these things? An easy one is Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So, it seems clear expecting him to harm me is foolish. The opposite, in fact – he promises to prosper me, to give me hope and a future.

So what should I expect from God? That he’ll keep his promises to me. That he won’t act like those who have let me down in the past. That he wants good for me, longs for me to be ever closer to his heart. And if God wants good for me, is there anything or anyone who can stop him?

So I can expect his best, true life, peace, love, if I surrender to his intentions. That’s not presumption; it’s expectation built on confidence in who God is and how he feels about me. I expect his best not because I’m arrogant, or because I see myself as having earned a reward, but because he loves to give good gifts! (Matt. 7:11) That’s the kind of father he is! A true father. One who keeps his promises.

Scripture Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

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Have you ever experienced a brief glimpse of hope, only to find a murky cloud of doubt shove its way into your vision? Maybe you’ve tried to plan a vacation, budget a purchase or figure out how to handle a change in some area of your life. No matter what the situation, it can be frustrating to never quite grasp what you long for. More often than not, I can find myself diving deeply into the “what ifs,” and end up going nowhere.

It’s been my observation (and experience) that our imagination’s version of the difficulty of an approaching trial or challenge is almost always an exaggeration. Not that there isn’t any difficulty – just that our minds inflate it, and the fear of what we might feel or encounter dwarfs the reality, resulting in discouragement and intimidation before the trial even starts.

Best to just behold reality as it truly is – good and bad, no avoidance and no embellishment. That’s what real faith and real humility look like. Fear will keep trying to assert itself, suggesting all sorts of awful outcomes to our minds; but the truth is, the source of that fear doesn’t know the outcome, either.

Releasing our grip, abandoning our attempts to perfect results, and really trusting God to manage our reality can feel scary, but it actually turns out to be an incredible relief! And the beautiful irony is that the freedom we dreamed of and craved was available all along, waiting for our surrender.

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