Our biggest disappointments in life are because of our expectations. When an event goes the opposite as we planned, or when a person does an unexpected act, we are disappointed. If you take an inventory of the disappointments in your life, you’ll find that most, if not all, are because of the expectations you have held that things would turn out otherwise.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, in looking at the Christian Church and noting its lackadaisical attitude towards injustice and general apathy towards the struggling, pronounce, “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.” As a minister of the Gospel, and as a student of Jesus, he had a certain expectation from the Church, that the Church would follow the work of Jesus. When it didn’t, he expressed his disappointment. And he added an additional element of love into the equation.
If we go to a restaurant, our expectation is to be served a decent meal in an efficient manner. When the food arrives cold after an hour’s wait, we are disappointed, and perhaps even angered, but the degree of disappointment is not the same as say, when a friend, child, a parent, a spouse, or a sibling acts against our expectations.
Interestingly enough, the Bible is written with many expectations built into the stories. A casual reading of the Old Testament gives you story after story, of God expecting one thing from His creation, and getting another. And so, often people walk away from religion, in particular Christianity, feeling rejected and hurt thinking that God is disappointed in them. Furthermore, the Bible is filled with the expectation of events. Prophets forecast events. Jesus’ birth was one of those events, so was his resurrection, and then his second coming.
Jesus spoke of a less stressful experience than the back-and-forth between expectations and disappointments. He said that God is in charge and so, let Him be in charge! Trust God, and deal with things that have been charged to you.
Following the Resurrection, the Disciples were excited and living with great expectations. Forty days afterwards they experienced the Ascension. They continued to speak about dates and times that were not in their purview. In fact, up until the end of the first century, people were living with an expectation of an imminent end. And many sects of Christianity continue to forecast and predict dates and times of future events that Jesus has strictly forbidden.
We end today with a reading from the Sermon on the Mount,
“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is life not more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
“… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34)