As a society, we are a people of exaggerated expectations. We frequently expect the unlikely from our nation, community, marriages, families, careers, and life situations. In all spheres of existence, our expectations prime us for disappointment.

Interactive factors generate high expectations. One example: advertisements and promotions entice us to anticipate the unrealistic. "Buy this car! It will grant you status...alter your relationships... change your image...give you access to a desirable peer group...change your lifestyle...and boost your career." A car? Really?

And how does a person feel when basically that car gets him or her from point A to point B at so many miles per gallon like any other car? Talk about failed expectations! When our car is a primary measurement of our life, what commentary does that make on the basic nature of our expectations?

Often failed expectations disillusion Christians. Our most common reason for being disappointed with God is failed expectations. We assume that if God does not produce the results we expect through the plans that we make, that God has failed us. God has not "been at work" as "He assured us that He would."

God never stops working. Never is there a moment when God is not at work. Never do we humans create conditions that make it impossible for God to work. Christian disappointment never measures God's productivity or success.

Never is there one way to accomplish God's objectives, or one avenue to pursue God's purposes, or one means to fulfill God's will. God worked in Egyptian slavery, the Sinai wilderness, the idolatry of Israel, the legalism of the Pharisees, the denials of Peter, the persecutions of Saul, and the cross of Jesus.

Regardless of how evil the world becomes, God works. In spite of our misguided goals, God works. Through the worst and best intentions of weak humans, God works.

His work produces its best results when fellowship is genuine; love is unpretended; commitment is whole-hearted; and our faith is 100% in Christ and 0% in us.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 27 September 1998

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