by Linda Veath
For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. ~ Philippians 1:19-21 NASB
Did you know when you make a call from your cell phone and an automated voice tells you to press 2 as the option you want, if you press 2 on your land line, nothing happens?
Trust me on that one.
Whoever was dumb enough to do this …. Oh, okay. When I was dumb enough to do this, my expectation was in the wrong place. And I ended up disappointed.
How many times have we done that? Placed our expectations in the wrong thing, only to be disappointed?
We expect a promotion at work to improve working conditions—only to find that our office nemesis got the promotion instead.
We expect the investment account we’ve contributed to for years will make our retirement easier—and then the stock market takes a nose dive.
We expect the “cancer free” news from the doctor to be the end of our battle with the disease—only to find out there’s still a chance it will return.
We expect our relationship with our spouse to bring us peace, contentment, joy, and security—only to find that a flawed human being can’t do that.
Our expectations more often than not are just an open-ended invitation to disappointment because those expectations are rarely ever met. And misplaced expectations can cause us to miss the joy of what actually is. We let the beauty of the now pass on by as we wait for the expectations that don’t come.
In Philippians 1:20, “earnest expectation” conveys the idea of watching for something so intently that one’s head turns away from everything else. Where Paul places his earnest expectation is exactly where we need to place ours—in Jesus Christ. Not in our jobs, investments, health, or another person, but in magnifying and glorifying Christ in our lives.
When we do that, He will bring joy and peace to us even in the midst of our most difficult circumstances. And that’s a great expectation that will never disappoint us.