Be Careful What You Expect


Frank was a man who believed in the deeper meaning of numbers. He was born on May 5, 1905, and was fifty-five. He had five children, and he lived at 555 East 55th Street. For the past five years, he had earned $55,000 as an executive at Sak’s Fifth Avenue. On his fifty-fifth birthday, Frank went to the track and was astonished to find that a horse name Numero Cinco was running in the fifth race. Five minutes before the race began, he went to the fifth window and put down five thousand dollars in five-dollar bills on Number Five. Sure enough, the horse finished fifth. (An Encyclopedia of Humor)

Frank had the wrong expectations. Since five was his number, he should have expected the horse to come in fifth. Our expectations can mean the difference between winning and losing. It all depends on the reality of what we expect will happen.

According to experts, we shouldn’t be too surprised when what we expect to happen does happen. Lou Ludwig, Sales and Management Consultant, wrote,

As I see it. . . . . . . .What you expect to happen does. Our self expectation programs our mind. What we except to happen becomes programmed into our thinking and becomes part of our dominate thoughts. As we continue to think about what could happen; we find that thought becomes a reality in our mind. The more we think about what could happen; that thought becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and does happen. If the expectation is negative think about solutions. When the expectation is positive keep the thoughts in your mind until the expectation comes to fulfillment. What you expect to happen does. (®2009, Lou Ludwig, Sales and Management Consultant Executive Coach, Speaker, Trainer and Author, Ludwig & Associates,

Negative expectations usually lead to negative consequences. If you think you’re going to fail, you probably will. If you think you’re going to lose, chances are, you will. If you can’t seem to reach your goals, maybe it’s because your expectations are not high enough, or they are misplaced like Frank’s were.

Positive expectations, on the other hand, usually lead to positive consequences. If you think you’re going to succeed, you probably will. If you think you’re going to win, chances are, you will. If you reach your goals, in all probability it’s because they were realistic and you expected to reach them in the first place.

The Bible makes it clear that the outcome of our expectations depends on our moral character. For example, Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous is gladness. But the expectation of the wicked perishes.” (New American Standard Bible, NASB) Proverbs 11:23 says, “The desire of the righteous is only good. But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.” (NASB) Those who are not following the way of the Lord can expect to reap the problems they sow. On the other hand, those who sow with hope and desire by following the way of Lord can expect to reap his blessings (Galatians 6:6-8).

The power of positive expectations provides the benefit of security and strength. When you read the following Psalm by David, note the following benefits (underlined) that accompany hope and expectation in the Lord:

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:5-8, NASB)

Notice where our hope comes from. God is the sole source for expecting the good that we want to happen to us. He is personal, too. Look at how many times he is declared as “my”. Say to yourself: He is my personal rock, who provides the solid foundation for living because this is what I expect. He is my source of salvation. I can expect him to save me when I need him. He is my stronghold. I can expect him to give me strength when I’m longing for someone to hold on to. I can expect to rest in his glory, to overcome victoriously even if times are rough. I can expect him to be my refuge, the One I can to turn to in times of stress, sorrow, and strife. I can expect him to be there at all times as I put all my trust in him. Therefore, I pour out my heart before him, and put all my love in him since he is my refuge and my shelter, the One I expect will be there for me.

Without him, we can expect disappointment in the end. Everything might appear right according to our calculations, but this doesn’t mean everything will turn out the right way. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a person but its end is the way that leads to death,” (New English Translation, NET). No one wants to end up a loser like Frank. We don’t put our trust in numbers, for example, but we do expect great things from God.

So, we want to make sure that we place our expectations on what God wants if we expect to receive blessings from him. If we are living the way God expects then we can expect that one day we will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” (Matt. 25:21-23, King James Version, KJV).

Here’s Steven Curtis Chapman singing, “Great Expectations”:

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

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