unmet expectations

One could make something of a case for the idea that one could measure the quality of their life in terms of just how close life actually meets their expectations. Unfortunately more than one professing Christian has left faith altogether, because their expectations were not met. Which makes me wonder just what kind of expectations they had.

Jesus made it clear that anyone who would follow him would have to do so completely, withour reservation or some contingency “plan B.” We either are committed to following Jesus all the way, or we end up not following him at all. Of course along the way there’s going to be “fits and starts,” times when we feel completely lost and have no clue. There can be great pain, suffering, tragedy: change of life which shakes us to the core. Christians are certainly not immune to the same trouble which befalls all of humanity (Job 14:1).

But the promises we have from God in and through Jesus for this life are many. God does fulfill God’s word, invariably keeping his promises, but in God’s way in Jesus, not in our own way, or according to our own plans or thoughts. That is where faith comes in. Faith is simply letting God be God in and through Jesus, and seeking to align ourselves with that, a big part of which is for us simply to get out of the way, and quit trying to control anything. It has been well said that doubt is not the opposite of faith, but that control is. Doubt can be bad if it’s more or less an excuse not to engage in faith, or perhaps to abandon faith altogether. But often doubt is a wrestling in faith, which is necessary for our faith to become both established and strong.

The life in Christ through the gospel and in the communion of the church is not easy. Even though along the way we keep finding that Jesus’ yoke is easy and burden is light. It ordinarily is full of trouble, day to day problems, and sometimes big problems which seem threatening, even to undo us. And for a good share of Christians, true persecution, which we in the west know nothing about. But that’s when we can find God’s promise in Jesus to be all the more true and real, meeting us where we live. So that just as Jesus lived in our world in complete identity to us, being human, so we too can live in the same world as others. As we testify to the one who makes all the difference for us, the one for whom indeed we live, the one who died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

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