Tag Archives: Hope

Two Kinds of Expectations

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Does God want you to have expectations? Sure He does! In fact, Psalm 5:3 states, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

We are often taught to not have expectations or maybe experience tells us that “too many expectations lead to disappointments.”

The kind of expectation that leads to disappointment is the anticipation of the way things “should” be or “how” they should happen.  We have a picture of the process in our mind and expect that things will occur accordingly, and when they don’t go the way we want it to go, we get terribly disappointed. It would be better to think of “your way” as a general blueprint for your plan but allow for flexibility so that God will still work it out — His way. If it does happen the way you wanted it to, great! But if not, the key is to not insist on making it happen your way. That’s what it means to “surrender your will.” It’s a power struggle between you and God. God always wins so the sooner you surrender, the happier you will be.

The other type of expectation is mentioned in Psalm 5:3. Ironically, it is easier to have expectations of the way things should be than to believe that the “impossible” can actually be possible. Do you believe that God actually wants you to have expectations so He can fulfill them? The difference lies in “how” and “will” (as in the future tense of the verb, “to be.”). Put your expectations before God and believe they “will” happen, but leave the “how” part to God.

One last thing I want to point out. The operative word here is “wait.” The psalmist wrote, “…I wait in expectation.” There is no indication that God answered this person’s prayer the same day.  Honestly I have had to wait so long for certain things that I wondered if my desires were out of line with God’s plan for my life.  What if God didn’t want those things for me?  I think the more appropriate question is, why would God allow this to be written in the scriptures if He didn’t want to answer our prayers?

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

The psalmist was 100% confident that God would answer. Do you pray and wait with this kind of confident expectation?

#prayer #faith #expectations #disappointment #waitonGod #patience #prayer #belief #confidence #powerstruggle #waiting #happiness #hope #hopeinGod

The Difference between Desperation and Desire

boiling-waterHave you ever wanted something so badly you could taste it? How badly would your faith be shaken if you didn’t receive it in one, five or twelve years?  In the story of the Bleeding Woman (Luke 8:43-48), we see an example of a woman who was determined to get what she wanted.

Backstory of the Bleeding Woman

 “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.”  Luke 8:43

All we know about this woman is that she had been suffering for 12 years before Jesus came to the scene.  If you have a loved one who has been suffering from a terrible illness for which the doctors have not found a cure, or for which certain medications/surgery would not be an option because of comorbid conditions, you know the frustration of hopelessness and despair.  Yet the woman did not give up hope.

Amidst the crowds, Jesus felt her desperation.

The woman didn’t just desire to be healed.  She was desperate to be healed!  When Jesus came, she was so determined to meet him because she knew in her heart of hearts that He was the only one who could heal her.  Nothing was going to stop her – no sardine-packed crowd, no doubt, no hesitation, no one’s opinion – she was adamant about getting through to Jesus for His healing power.  Amidst the crowd that was packed so tightly that no one could breathe, this woman reached out and her faith made Jesus turn His head.

The difference between desire and desperation is determination.

When you’re desperate for something, there’s a sense of urgency that propels you toward your goal.  The crowds who surrounded Jesus wanted to meet Him, so they followed Him wherever He went, but this woman cut through the masses and made Jesus notice her.  They say that the difference between a winner and a loser is one’s character that will carry one through. Why does one achieve his goal while the other one doesn’t? Character.

  Not only so, but we[c] 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.  Romans 5:3-5

You achieve character first through suffering, then perseverance, and then you get hope from the character that’s forged within you.

“A sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” – Proverbs 13:4

Waiting is part of that diligence. But what about faith?

Without faith, people give up, and therefore they allow their character to soften instead of fervently relying on God.  How long will you wait before you receive the desire of your heart?

I cannot even fathom what it’s like to be in the Bleeding Woman’s shoes, but I do know what it’s like to wait for something forever and never receiving it.  Oftentimes I wonder if I should just give up and chalk it up to “It’s not God’s will,” but if the Bleeding Woman caved into that kind of thinking, she would have never gone after Jesus because she would have believed that Jesus never wanted to heal her. 

Twelve years is an awfully long time to wait for something.  You don’t know the future; you can only hope for the best.  I wonder how many times this woman felt like giving up.  Will a miracle ever turn up?  Will the suffering ever stop?  Waiting year after year, waiting in the dark, not knowing the future – that does something to your soul.  In my despair, many times I have “surrendered” my desires to God with a hint of unbelief.

Will you surrender your desire to God with a spirit of resignation, or will you, like the Bleeding Woman, fight with urgency and desperation to get God’s attention?

#nevergiveup #faith #prayer #determination #God #Jesus #character #hope #perseverance #persistence #healing #miracles #fightofthefaith #keepupthegoodfight #musingz4life #dependonGod

Abraham Believed…And So He Became

sec“How important is your faith?” asked Peter Garcia, Evangelist of the Lighthouse Ministry.  It is so important that “it defines you,” and that is exactly what happened to Abraham, commonly referred to as the father of our faith.  Today’s sermon was particularly powerful because, in my opinion, I don’t think that people have trouble believing – they just have a hard time believing the right things, especially good parts about themselves.  If you know the story of Abraham, the father of faith whom God exalted all throughout the scriptures, you probably have heard of his major mistakes and shortcomings, but it’s interesting to note that none of Abraham’s mistakes were listed in Romans 4.  Instead, you will find that Abraham focused on hope rather than his circumstances:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations…” Romans 4:18 (emphasis added)

Putting your faith in God is more than just positive thinking.  It enables the impossible to be possible.  At an age when Abraham and his wife were biologically unable to procreate, God enabled Sarah to conceive because Abraham believed.  Also, just because Abraham had great faith, it doesn’t mean he was blind to the facts.

“Without weakening in his faith, [Abraham] faced the fact that his body was as good as dead…” Romans 4:19

Abraham knew full well that his body was good as dead in regards to procreation, but despite the facts of his circumstances, he still believed that God would work miracles because of who God is.  Sometimes, when a breakthrough or miracle seems impossible, we have to rely on God’s character to carry us through.  Where are the promises?  They’re coming!  What makes you think so?  Because God is faithful.  Because He said so.  In the eye of the storm, God will carry you through.  It’s all about trust.

“It is what it is, but it’s not what it seems.”  This quote from the sermon reminded me of the many times when I uttered, “It is what it is,” after I threw in the towel about some situation.  When I felt hopeless, I accepted things as they are.  But they don’t have to be that way, because God is always working behind the scenes, and we, like Abraham, need to press on because things will get better and the blessings God has for your life will happen…if you believe.  I’m sure there are times when you look back in hindsight, you realized that better things were happening behind the scenes but you didn’t know it until you found out later on!  If you don’t give up, you will have the opportunity in the future to look back on your current circumstances and understand why things turned out the way they did.  How will you allow the scriptures to change your perspective about your current situation?  And how will your faith transform you?

#faith #believe #trust #miracles #transformation #musingz4life #secondchances #hope #promises