By Shelly Esser
The biblical landscape is littered with men and women who let go of their expectations in exchange for a life of trust and faith. Joseph, who was given a specific dream, watched it go up in smoke. Instead, he was sold into slavery, ended up in prison, and journeyed for years with unmet expectations. Abraham was promised a son. Years went by and there was no son. The Apostle Paul’s ministry life included long stints in prison, of all places. Remarkably, these people, despite their unfulfilled expectations and dreams, continued to minister in the circumstances God ordained for them, and they continued to trust Him with what didn’t make sense at the time. The encouragement for us is that God uses the disappointments in our lives to press us forward in our faith. Managing expectations in those times of dashed dreams in ministry can lead us into deeper intimacy with Christ.
In the end, we were never intended to find our fulfillment in people, our circumstances, or ministries. We were intended to find fulfillment in God alone. There will always be disappointments and broken dreams. Thankfully, though, we can hold on to the truth in Hebrews 13:8 which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He will never fail us. Even in the midst of our broken dreams, we can start over, managing our expectations and serving God with a deep joy and passion. It’s often in the letting go, in the loss of our dreams, that we gain our heart’s deepest longing and treasure: Christ Himself.