Today's post is written by Linda Green. She is the Director of Women’s Ministries at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church. She has been married to her husband, Ray, for over three decades, and has three adult children and several grandchildren. She enjoys writing articles that help women live out the gospel according to their God-given design and purpose.
Years ago, my husband announced he was planning a surprise lunch for my birthday. With great anticipation, I imagined a romantic afternoon at a lovely restaurant with a view, or in the heart of the city. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when we pulled into the parking lot of Cracker Barrel!
Think of how often we are let down by unmet expectations . . . Doesn’t every new wife expect her husband to understand her without her having to tell him what’s bothering her? And don’t those same husbands expect their wives to be as sexually eager after the honeymoon? As life begins to dismantle our unrealistic dreams, where we have placed our hope will begin to be exposed.
Faulty expectations hardly fail us only in marriage. Singles expect to be married by a certain age, or to find happiness in a career. We expect our friends to be patient with us, help us in our need, and forgive us when we fail them. We have expectations of our children (young and adult), other drivers, our government, and our church.
Only the Gospel can save us from being consumed with having our needs met by people or things of this world. Only the Gospel reminds us that we have all been given mercy and grace we do not deserve. Indeed, it is only when Jesus Christ is the all-satisfying enjoyment of our soul that our relationships with others can be truly healthy and satisfying. “For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things” (Ps. 107:9).
Perhaps you are wondering how my birthday lunch ended up. Sitting in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel, it didn’t take long for my husband to see my obvious disappointment. I don’t even remember where we ended up eating that day, but I do remember listening humbly as I learned what my surprise was going to be. It turns out he had planned lunch at this gravy-laden, high-carb family restaurant only so that afterward he could buy me two front porch rockers I had hinted I would like for our own porch. And although I eventually did get those rockers, they are still a humbling reminder of the lesson I learned that day.
When we put our hopes in this world, we always miss the MUCH MORE our gracious God wants to give us! Oh, if only we had lower expectations of others and higher expectations of God.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us . . . to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever” (Eph. 3:20-21).