Are you struggling with unmet expectations?
You expected your spouse to notice your needs and meet them… but he didn’t, and you are filled with resentment.
You expected to have a successful career… but years of hard work have slipped away unnoticed and you feel like you are at a dead-end.
You expected to be able to lose some weight… but you still haven’t lost it and you feel like a failure.
You expected to have a happy family… but infertility, chronic illness, or divorce have sucked the life out of your dreams, and you wonder if your faith in God has been misplaced.
What can we do with the disappointment, frustration, anger, and resentment of unmet expectations?
Where can we go when life just isn’t going the way we thought it would?
Peter: A Man of Crushed Expectations
In the Bible, we are told about a man who knew all about crushed expectations.
Peter was a poor fisherman turned disciple of Jesus Christ.
He left behind his career and home to travel with Jesus. And, he wasn’t disappointed in his choice! Peter learned from Jesus and witnessed the most amazing miracles. He truly believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of the Living God. He was filled with joy and expectations for the future.
But, Peter’s expectations were about to be crushed.
Peter expected Jesus to defeat the Romans and set up a Jewish kingdom such as the world had never seen. He may have even hoped to be an important leader in this kingdom.
Peter didn’t expect to fall into temptation and deny knowing Jesus before a young servant girl.
He didn’t expect to watch Jesus’ blood drip down the rough surface of a crude wooden cross while on-lookers jeered and scorned his Savior.
Peter didn’t expect to be loving restored to fellowship with God after he had denied His Son.
And, Peter didn’t expect to be crucified upside down by his own request because he felt unworthy of dying in the same way that his Savior, Jesus Christ, had died.
Peter had a lot of expectations in this life. Almost all of them were crushed. And, in the midst of these crushed expectations, Peter’s faith was almost crushed as well – crushed under the weight of sorrow, confusion, and grief.
What can we learn from Peter’s crushed expectations?
1. Difficult times, trials, and failed expectations are to be expected!
Later in his life, Peter wrote these words:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as through some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (1 Peter 4:12)
Trials and difficulties, sorrows and crushed expectations will come to us, even when we are walking in obedience to God. We should not be surprised by them.
2. We are not alone.
Jesus knew that, as a result of Peter’s crushed expectations, Peter’s faith would be shaken to the core. Jesus knew that Satan was longing to turn Peter’s crushed expectations into bitterness against God.
I love how Jesus dealt with Peter. He didn’t make light of Peter’s disappointment and sufferings. Jesus didn’t tell Peter to buck-up or offer Peter a platitude or remind Peter of how much worse Jesus’ own sufferings would be.
Instead, Jesus acknowledged that Peter would be going through a time of severe trial that would test Peter to his very core. Then, Jesus promised Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith would not fail.
Jesus Himself was going to pray Peter through this trial. And, Jesus promised to bring Peter out on the other side of the heartache with a renewed strength that he could share with others around him.
When our hearts are broken by crushed expectations, we must remember that we have a true Friend Who knows exactly what it is like to suffer. Jesus Christ suffered terribly, and He suffered willingly for you and for me.
And this same Jesus is praying for us now as we go through difficult times. He has prayed that our faith would not fail. He is praying us through our heartache, pain, and disappointment.
3. God is in Control.
As Peter watched his expectations here on this earth be crushed, God was in control.
As God’s perfect Son was killed for crimes He had never committed, God was in control.
God had a plan that Peter could not see.
Does your life feel like it is spinning out of control? Know that God has a plan for everything, for every heartache, for every sorrow, for every crushed expectation. Although we cannot see the plan now, it is there.
When everything is spinning out of control, cling to God. He knows the pain of your heart and He will hold you in the palm of His hand.
4. We can put our expectations in God – He will never disappoint us.
After Peter’s expectations of an earthly kingdom were disappointed, Peter learned to place his expectations in God.
From the other side of his trial, Peter speaks to you and me about putting our expectations in God:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6)
Peter is already there, on the other side of the grave. His expectations have been met in God. And, I think that he is calling out to you and me, “Keep on going! Put your expectations in God. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!”
How About You?
Are you suffering today? Have your expectations in this life been crushed? Is Satan tempting you to turn away from God in bitterness?
Cling to God! Find hope in the fact that, even if nobody else understands what you are going through, Jesus Christ knows your heart and is praying for you. God is in control of your life. And, when you put your expectations in Him, He will never disappoint you. Because of Jesus sacrifice for us, there is a life beyond this life- and it is worth waiting patiently and expectantly for.
Are you struggling with unmet expectations? Is the story of Peter encouraging to you? I would love to hear your thoughts! Please scroll down to comment.