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Broken Promises or Broken Expectations

August 10, 2012

Let’s say a family reads an ad for a new restaurant that promises generous servings, a delicious and healthy menu and gracious service. When they go on Saturday night, the hostess takes their name, shows them a complimentary appetizer bar and gives them ice water to enjoy until they are called to their table.

After 5 minutes in the waiting area where they frown over the tastelessness of the beverage and complain about the ridiculously small portions of the food on the table, they stomp out vowing never, ever again to have anything to do with such an “empty promise” establishment.


“Foolish people!” would probably be our assessment.

They were promised “generous servings, a delicious and healthy menu and gracious service.” AFTER they got to their table. Because they didn’t find those things in the waiting area, they bailed out and missed the satisfaction that was waiting for them had they waited to actually get into the real restaurant.


That little fable exemplifies what happens in many faith journeys.


We read: He makes all things beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

We read: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. I Corinthians 2:9

We read: … bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

We decide that God means for us to have all of that in this life time – like NOW!

Then we travel through this part of reality, the earthly waiting room, and are repeatedly disappointed that God doesn’t deliver what He has promised. He obviously is not “on the job.” Hard work isn’t always sufficiently rewarded. Good people live with bad circumstances. We invest for super-sized returns and end up with samples.  We thirst for hot, dark roast and the cup is half full of day old grinds. (Ok, that was probably too graphic.)


It occurs to me that we may have misunderstood.

Maybe it’s our expectations that are broken rather than His promises.

Maybe we forget that “In this world you will have trouble”- that in this world we will endure the ripple effects of the choices that were made in Eden. This is not the Real Restaurant.


In this waiting area, we are only going to sample what is to come. We are only in the lobby where our appetites are whetted for the real table. While we are here, He serves us good refreshment and we catch the aroma of what He is preparing for those who love Him.

We are wise to have expectations of this place that correspond with what He has actually promised for this place.

We aren’t at the place of Fulfilled Promises yet. He is, though, true to His Word in the meantime, and gives us much: His promised presence and His promised peace and His promised provision while we wait to be called into His presence.

We know that this world is not all there is! He is preparing a home where each of us will have a place. He is preparing a home where every promise will be completely fulfilled. He is preparing a home where “everything sad will come untrue.” (CS Lewis)

We do well to let the lobby be what it is meant to be.  


Lord, adjust my expectations so that I …

         enjoy what you ARE giving to me now

         and anticipate the Yet To Be.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2012 2:20 pm

    Lord, adjust my expectations so that I …
    enjoy what you ARE giving to me now
    and anticipate the Yet To Be.

    I like that!

  2. August 11, 2012 2:40 pm

    My friend has a good point when she questioned whether CS Lewis is right when we says “everything sad will come untrue.” She says God won’t make it like it didn’t happen; it will always be true because it did happen.
    I love it that she is spunky enough to challenge even one of the Great Thinkers! I’m wondering if it might come down to a matter of defining “untrue.” When something hard happens, IT truly has happened and we may truly view IT as sad or feel truly sad about IT. Because, from our perspective now, that seems like the only category to put IT in. (And that’s okay if the sad IT causes us to run to Him for comfort and strength.) However, when our Lord finishes the Grand Story and fully establishes His kingdom, we will see IT fully, from a heavenly perspective. Then the sadness of IT will no longer be true. It still will be a part of past reality but He will finish it, set IT right and we will see IT right. At least, that is how I read CS Lewis. But, I may be “unright.” He is, clearly, way out of my league.

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