By Pastor Robert Maxie
4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. Acts 28: 4-6 NKJV
The oldest known organism on the planet is the Bristle Cone Pine. This tree can live as long as 5,000 years. These Trees grow in the worst conditions. You can find them in the Rockies and the sierra, Where extreme conditions last year-round. These trees appear gloomy and sullen and can be mistaken for dead. They are bent and twisted. When you approach one of these trees the expectation is that it is dead or dying, however it is alive and can out live the most beautiful tress in the world. Mistakenly the expectation is that this ugly thing is doomed and dying.
In the 6th verse Paul has been bitten by a viper and the natives of the island are watching. They come under the assumption that he is a murderer and the expectation is that he is going to die. They said “no doubt this man is a murder, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not let him live. As you grow in your walk with God, you must be careful of the expectations that are placed on you and those you place on others. Especially those that are using your past or your current life situations to make assumptions about who you are and what your future holds.
You see, everything was going well for Paul. He survived a shipwreck, no Snake bite. The natives started a fire for him, no snake bite. he was being helpful by gathering sticks, no snake bite. He carries the sticks to the fire, still no snake bite. However, once Paul throws the sticks on the fire, the bible tells us that the heat caused the viper to come out of the fire and bite Paul’s hand. When we add the heat to those areas of our lives that presumption and expectation live, conflict is sure to follow.
The definition for expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or will be the case in the future.Expectations come from our beliefs as we examine the evidence. The problem is our beliefs are colored by our upbringing, and what we have been taught by our past. This is the reason we can worship the same God, read the same bible, but have different interpretations of it. It’s the reason why we treat people different because of color while worshipping the same God. Our past has a hold on the way that we think and live.
Expectations have the ability to create great suffering in our lives. Our disappointment, our anger, our sadness most often come from the resentments born by our unreasonable expectations on ourselves and on others. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This is an important verse because people will disappoint you. I tell my kids all the time I am not perfect. I need them to give me grace and to love me through my imperfections. It’s so important for us to really know this, because if we don’t put our hope and expectation in Him, we will spend a lot of our lives disappointed, frustrated and hopeless. These feelings and emotions will keep us from being content and satisfied with our lives no matter how much our lives have improved.
The key here is to understand that our expectation should be in God, not other people or even ourselves. God wants us to have expectations, but we must make sure our expectations are in the right place – in Him.
Pastor Robert Maxie is the Ministry Leader of Crossroad Recovery Ministry, Associate Pastor of Encounter Church and Director of the 2018 “Live Free” Conference.