Disappointment. We have all experienced it to some degree or other. Generally, disappointment results when our reality does not match up with our expectations. If I expect my husband to act like Richard Gere in all those romantic movies and not himself – I will be disappointed. If I expect my children to act like responsible adults rather than (heaven forbid) children – I will be disappointed.
Much of the time our expectations are simply unrealistic. As humans we tend to plan out our future well in advance, and as women, even more so. I recently re-watched the movie “Must Love Dogs.” In it, Jake (Cusack) tells his friend his opinion about women and dating:
“I think women have the whole thing planned. An epic narrative in their heads. You know my theory about this? When you meet they have the whole story written. But you don’t get to read it. But if you go off script – they write you out of the story…”
Isn’t it true though? We have a tendency to plan out everything. I remember planning out exactly how I would spend a million dollars if I were to win the lottery – and I don’t even play the lottery! We have our life story already written in our heads. While some of the details may be fuzzy, the general storyline is there. And when life does not meet our expectations, we experience frustration, disappointment, depression and even anger. We will fight very hard to “right the course” of our lives to fit with the plan. The thought of allowing our “story” to be edited, let alone completely rewritten, is extremely painful.
Jesus tells us in Luke 12:22-34 not to worry about tomorrow. I have often thought that this means that when I think about what my expectations/plans are for tomorrow, I should not worry. But immediately before this passage Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool who stores up all of his crops in abundance and then celebrates because he is “set.” God tells him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” What if Jesus is telling us not to worry about planning tomorrow? What if we were willing to give up our plans for the future and live one day at a time? I am not saying to live completely foolishly, but as long as we hold hard to our own expectations and plans for the future, marching ahead determined to fulfil our destiny as we have designed it, won’t we completely resist the Lord’s direction when He says, “Turn here!”?
God has big plans for His people. So much greater than the plans we can make for ourselves. But we miss out because we have a hard time following God’s directions and trusting Him. It seems that God often tends to allow His people, once they have decided to follow His directions, to go through a period of testing. Noah was ridiculed for 100 years while he was building the ark. David was hunted for years while he waited to become king. Mary was rejected by her community (and risked getting stoned) being pregnant out of wedlock. Even Jesus was tested 40 days in the wilderness before He began His ministry. If these people did not know and trust God, would they have endured long enough to see His glory revealed? Will we? God longs to reveal Himself through us and the corporate church to the world. Are we ready to follow His lead?
The passage in Luke 12 that immediately follows the “do not worry” passage is the one that tells us to be watching and ready for His return. But wouldn’t that apply to His voice as well as His physical return? Doesn’t He expect us to be ready to respond when He gives us direction? What wonders could He perform if we would only yield our own plans to His? There is a Casting Crowns song called “Dream for you” that speaks to this same idea. Let it inspire you to let go of your own plans today and let God dream for you!