We went to see a movie that was adapted from a popular novel. Of the three of us, only one had read the book. It wasn’t a great movie and when I was told how the novel ended, it was puzzling to me why the movie deviated so significantly (the books’ ending sounded much more interesting). The person who had read the book and had the most emotional investment was understandably the most disturbed about the movie’s changes.
You see this kind of thing a lot if you think about it. High expectations are often met with mediocre results. I wouldn’t say that it is the stuff that life is made of, but it happens often enough so that most of us make sure we temper our expectations with a dose of reality.
Disappointments are measured in terms of expectations, so you have to adjust them accordingly. If you don’t, you will be disappointed. That’s not a pessimistic view of life, it’s a realistic view. It’s the difference between putting on your seatbelt because you because you acknowledge that an accident is a possibility and buckling up because you believe you’re going to be in a wreck.
The good news is that there is one expectation we don’t have to adjust downward— that’s the ending God has in store for us. Paul said that “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God . . . and hope does not disappoint,” (Romans 5:2,5). The ending God has in mind for us is not in the hands of a Hollywood producer or a film editor. It is in His hands and no one has the power to change anything about it. We don’t have to worry if it will be less than we had hoped for—it will be more!
And because there’s no deviation in our hope, there doesn’t have to be in our life. We can stand firm. We can move ahead. We can look life straight in the eye. I think this is the kind of thing Paul had in mind when he wrote:”. . . since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9).
That’s our ending and it’s not going to change. Let’s make sure we don’t either.