Norma Jean and I just spent a long weekend in a cabin at Hills Point Resort. It’s located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the area of the Les Cheneaux Islands.
Now, “resort” may conjure up in your mind specific creature comforts and amenities associated with the word. Forget it. These were 90-year-old cabins that may be described as “rustic.” However, some google reviewers preferred “rundown” and “in need of repair.”
Upon checking in, I was talking with the owner, Chris, about the wide range of reviews from 5 stars to 1 star. He replied, “Well, there’s one word that will make a difference in your life.”
That word Chris explained will determine whether you’re sad or glad. Angry or happy. Disappointed or contented.
“What’s the word?” I asked.
“Expectations,” he replied.
He went to explain if people come here expecting to stay in the Taj Mahal, they’re going to be very disappointed. Hills Point is for people just wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Experience nature. Enjoy the serenity of the lake. And relax on the back porch every morning with a hot cup of coffee.
About that time a man, vacationing with his wife and kids who were having a blast, walked by, hearing our conversation, and hollered back, “5-stars.”
I’ve been thinking about that exchange all weekend and the idea of expectations.
While some expectations are uncertain, unrealistic, and unfounded in fact, I don’t want to become cynical toward people. Suspicious of everything. Or pessimistic about life. I once heard someone say, “I have low expectations, that way, I’m never disappointed.” Honestly, that’s not the way I want to live my life.
Regarding our relationships, a lady named Mary Browne offered this advice with a balanced viewpoint, “Expect people to be better than they are; it helps them to become better. But don’t be disappointed when they are not; it helps them to keep trying.”
I expect people to be good. Kind. Fair. Honest. Supportive. Considerate. And charitable. Are they always? Of course not. But that doesn’t decrease my expectations.
I expect my brethren to be spiritually minded. Seeking to be more like Jesus. And striving to grow in grace and in knowledge. Are they always? No. But that’s doesn’t diminish my expectations.
I expect my family to understand my motives, intentions, and feelings. And to be understanding and tolerant when I make a mistake. Are they always? No. But that doesn’t dampen my expectations.
Do our plans always turn out according to our expectations? Of course not. Possibly the advice of author and motivational speaker Denis Waitley is helpful. “Expect the best. Plan for the worst. Prepare to be surprised.”
The insight of my friend and preaching colleague, Gary Henry, is worth noting. “The more we trust God’s perfection, the better we can deal with human imperfection. There is no other healthy way to survive life in a broken world.”
Indeed. People are imperfect. Including me. Plans don’t always work out. Life isn’t always fair. And, our lofty expectations are not always met.
However, there’s one exception of which I’m absolutely certain.
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
I expect God to keep His Word. I expect forgiveness of my sins through Christ’s sacrifice. I expect God’s love to be unconditional. I expect to receive His grace and mercy. And I expect a heavenly home. (2 Cor. 1:20; John 3:16; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 4:16; Jn. 14:1-3).
Am I disappointed with this “rustic” cabin?
I’ve got a mansion waiting for me in heaven.
The best is yet to come. Expect it.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman