I scraped out the contents of sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan heating on the stove. Slowly, I stirred in a cup of chocolate chips. I envisioned drizzling this creamy chocolate topping over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Oh-h-h, and yes! . . . I would add a few dollops of whipped cream and top it off with nuts and a maraschino cherry. The picture of this delectable dessert danced about in my imagination.
I had stumbled across this recipe a few days earlier. It sounded easy enough. The simple ingredients included one cup of chocolate chips, ten peppermint patties, and one can sweetened condensed milk. Since the recipe gave the option for peanut butter instead of the peppermint patties, the prior seemed the healthier choice and my preferred flavor.
At some point between my decision to try this recipe and making the recipe, my imagination soared. Why not, I reasoned, make this recipe into a rich, creamy chocolate drizzle for ice cream instead of using it as a chocolate fondue for apples? The sweetened condensed milk would be the perfect consistency for a chocolate drizzle. I could imagine how guests would “o-o-oh” and “a-a-ah” over such a fine treat. It would be my secret. (Unfortunately by this time, my expectation of the chocolate dessert held the promise not only of pleasure but also had escalated into the idea of popularity.) I smiled as I added the peanut butter.
While I sat down to dinner, the mixture was heating slowly. Suddenly I heard a gurgling sound. The contents in the saucepan were heating more rapidly than I realized. Dashing over to the stove, I grabbed a spoon. Alas, the chocolate mixture already had begun settling to the bottom of the saucepan. The once creamy drizzle had turned into a thick, sticky substance. Dismayed, I spooned out the upper layer trying to salvage what could be edible.
I pulled the ice cream from the freezer. Perhaps, I might still be able to top my dinner with a chocolaty dessert. What I had earlier imagined as a chocolate drizzle over vanilla ice cream, now became dark, brown globs that quickly hardened into chewy nuggets. Needless to say, I didn’t bother with the whipped cream, nuts, or maraschino cherry.
Life expectations often compare to failed chocolate-drizzled desserts. They never quite equal the picture or the imagined result. As women, single or married, our expectations begin in our imaginations. We desire life to provide for us a man strong and handsome, a man smooth and velvety, a man drizzling pure goodness. We want him to be perfect, and envision him to be what we cannot be for ourselves. Our expectations in relationships are often crushed because we are living with human beings who stand in need of God’s grace just as much as we do.
Our imaginations also build up expectations in other areas. We want loyal friendships that last a lifetime. We long for family and children that bring us delight and honor. We desire a church that can meet our spiritual and social needs. We look for a job or career that gives significance and meaning to life. What we often imagine could bring us happiness and fulfillment instead becomes a mixture of deep disappointments in the midst of good things. That is life.
The Psalmist states bluntly an expectation that will not fail. He wrote,
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Psalm 62:5-7 KJV
Just as we cannot make a chocolate fondue into a creamy chocolate drizzle by the wisp of an imagination, neither can the expectations of our making produce perfect results in life. When our expectations are rooted in the One who does all things well, the end result will far surpass any imagination of chocolate drizzle!