How fast can a chicken run? Not fast enough. As a child I learned a lot about expectations and why lowering them is the best hedge against disappointment. We all have events in our lives that help us to be more realistic about our dreams, hopes and expectations. Only the Gospel can save us from thinking our needs will be met by the things of the world. What do you hang your hopes on?
Back to that chicken, and it wasn’t just any chicken
I was lucky to be a kid back when it was still legal to get a baby chick for Easter. She was a cute, yellow handful of fluff and I called her Elephant. Don’t ask me why. I had lofty hopes of how that wee chirping downy handful would satisfy my desire for a loving pet. I was amazed by how fast that chick grew, and rather perturbed when she morphed into a gangly chicken with long white feathers. The cuddle factor and most of the cute factor was gone, much like a toddler growing into a preteen.
I kept Elephant in a cage rigged from plywood and chicken wire in the backyard and was at a loss to know what to do with her. She just hung out pecking disgusting stuff out of the grass and was no longer the cute chick I had hung my hopes on. Ever tried to pet a chicken? Not very satisfying; the peck factor was a big turn off. The sweet peeps became clucks, and Elephant ended up having a guttural cackle like the witch in Hansel & Gretel.
My little sister Leslie liked to chase Elephant around the yard and solved my indifference by forgetting to close the lid on the cage. From inside the house I heard growling and clucks and hysterical screams. I ran outside, but was too late to save Elephant.
After a fast and furious chicken chase
Our dog Barney ate Elephant, smugly licking his chops after a nice chicken dinner, white feathers wafting in the breeze.
The chicken ran, but not fast enough. Worse, Elephant did not meet my expectations for a loving pet. Lesson learned, well partly. My childish expectations bumped into the ebbs and tides of adulthood. Unmet expectations have followed me. I would guess you’ve had your share too.
We live in a fallen world where realities of life can be harsh. Whether your lofty expectations revolve around relationships that disappoint, a nicer house that’s always out of reach, a marriage that isn’t as loving as you’d hoped, a career or job promotion that never materializes, hopes are elusive. I am still learning to place my hope in the one true source for expectations and hopes that are not only met, but are met above and beyond what we could ever dream.
For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things
Psalm 107:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
I can also rest in the knowledge that God knows the desires of my heart. He put them there! I believe that if you walk closely with God and desire to know Him better, obey Him better, and praise Him better, your desires will change.
Your sole desire will be to know God and to please God. It doesn’t get any better than that
We are told that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us! That’s all we’ll ever need. How could the God of the universe and the God who is the lover of our souls not be enough! What an incomprehensible, startling fact that James states,
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
It’s impossible to feel insignificant when you ponder that verse. God reaches down to me with the Gospel truth. To me. To you. We are two people in billions, yet God is big enough to reach out to us individually. Awesome, amazing, astounding truth! Yes, that’s all we’ll ever need.
If we put our hopes in this world (or in a silly chicken who can’t meet our expectations of being a loving pet) we always miss what our loving and merciful God wants to give us. When we make Jesus Christ the center of our lives He will meet our expectations in ways too wonderful to comprehend.
As we lower our worldly expectations and have higher expectations of God’s goodness to us, He will give us soul satisfaction
That’s all we need, satisfaction and peace deep in our souls from God the giver of good gifts. His power at work in us. We have the power of transforming grace. I challenge you to meditate and pray over Ephesians 3:20-21. I comprehend just a glimmer, truth shining in my soul. God is good!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us . . . to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.
Ephesians 3:20-12 New American Standard Bible