There are times when we find ourselves with broken promises, or broken dreams of what we hoped would have been. Or maybe we have a promise that feels delayed. In these times it’s easy to allow our hearts to be imprisoned to fear, hopelessness or resentment. We can get to a place where we decide that having no expectations will save us disappointment and we are afraid to 'get our hopes up', but this is not the Father’s heart for us. In this study we will look at the elements of hope; desire & expectation, and how we can move past the pain of disappointment.
A confident expectation
Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses] –Hebrews 11:6 amp
In the world hope is a desire that has no certainty of coming to pass; therefore you can find yourself in a cliff hanger situation, but biblical hope rests on faith. Faith gives us surety that our hope – the thing we long for/desire will come to pass. We can be confident of this because of the evidence we have of God’s faithfulness to fulfil His Word (Jer 1:12, Num 23:19).
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him – Psalm 62:5 kjv
This scripture in the amplified says, ‘my hope is from Him’. Hope is a desire and expectation; however our hope should come from the Lord. We hope for those things which He places in our hearts. As we grow and delight ourselves in Him, He moulds and purifies our desires to match His. This scripture also points to focus on God as we wait. So essentially we are not looking to the promise, but rather waiting on the promise-keeper – looking to and expecting Him who promised to fulfil His Word. He should have our gaze.
Some things to remember where hope is concerned;
Your responsibility in hope: Often we hope for something thinking it will simply drop into our laps miraculously, but in our hope, we must seek God on what our responsibility might be. Barnes Notes shares, “The farmer who should wait for God to plough and sow his fields, would not only be disappointed, but would be guilty of provoking Him.” In other words, we cannot hope for a harvest without sowing seed! There is a responsibility we have that God cannot do for us, be it and outward act of faith or an inward steadfast trust. Faith (the assurance of our hope) without works is dead.
Desire surrendered: We must master our desires through submission so as to keep from being tempted to act outside of God’s Will or timing for our lives. As much as God is faithful to keep His promises, He doesn’t want the promise or desire to become an idol to us, neither does He want our desires to be lustful (of the flesh). (See James 1:14)
Simple expectation: Sometimes in scripture we see God give a promise with a time-frame attached to it, other times, He gives a promise alone. As humans it’s easy for us to add to our desire the expectation - or better put; assumption that it will come to pass in a certain way or within a certain amount of time. One thing that is important is simple expectation. That means releasing time-frames (unless specifically given by the Lord) and trusting Him to do thing in His perfect time and way. Let God be God, furthermore let Him surprise you! The bible says in Proverbs 13:12 that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but there are some situations where you wouldn’t know hope is deferred if you didn’t have a time-frame!
Our expectation should be this; that God would do what He said He would do, and be who He said He would be. Trust His character.
Hope requires waiting: The very word hope in the Strong’s concordance means to wait, tarry, hope for, expect. One thing we can take comfort in is the fact that our waiting comes with a promise of strength. Psalm 27:14 and Isaiah 40:31 tell us that God will strengthen our hearts as we wait on Him, and renew our strength as we wait upon Him.
“Wait at His door with prayer; wait at His foot with humility; wait at His table with service; wait at His window with expectation.”
Hope requires courage: Courage is not a feeling but a choice. The Lord commands us several times throughout scripture to be courageous. Sometimes our present circumstances would like us to become discouraged and lose hope. The facts may present themselves against what God has spoken, or we may have to endure ’looking foolish’ to others for a time, but we must continue courageously to walk by faith and not sight, being prisoners of hope and nothing less.
Psalm 31:24 says this;
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.
To be of good courage means to be bold, strong, and firm. As we choose courage He increases, strengthens and makes firm that courage in our hearts.
Hope does not disappoint or bring shame: Another promise of waiting on the Lord, having our hope in and from Him is the assurance that we will not be ashamed for our hope.
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us – Romans 5:5 ampc (Read v3-5)
Dealing with disappointments
A few points to consider if the pain of disappointment is still present;
Heart Chat: When you have a disappointment, have an honest conversation with God. Some questions to consider;
What were you hoping for and why?
Where did you place your expectation?
Did you misunderstand or misinterpret anything that could have led to this disappointment?
Are you willing to forgive yourself and anyone else you need to?
Surrender the hurt, trust the Healer: Give your pain over to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to heal your hurt. Ask Him to help you trust Him again and have the courage to hope again. Ask Him for the correct Word to stand on or the correct understanding of what He has already said. Trust Him as the Good Shepherd who restores your soul, and know that even this disappointment He can use for your good (Romans 8:28). Refuse to let bitterness have a home in your heart.
Guard against doubt, unbelief & fear: choose to only believe what God has promised, don’t entertain thoughts that speak otherwise and meditate on His unfailing love. (Rom 8:38-39, Luke 1:45, Heb 6:11-12, 11:11)
Encouragement from the Word: I encourage you in closing to read about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-28, especially when dealing with disappointment. She experienced hope deferred as a barren woman who was provoked by her husband’s other wife who was able to have children, but she took her pain and disappointment to the Lord, and surrendered her desire for a son to the point of her willingness to release him from her care to minister before the Lord as a child.
There are many other examples in scripture of men and women who kept their faith, hope and trust in God, following Him in courage and obedience and seeing their desires fulfilled.
We pray this month’s study has been refreshing to your soul.