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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

When Our Expectations Fail, God's Plans Are Still on Track!

We have all experienced disappointment in our lives. Indeed, it is not uncommon for life NOT to meet our expectations. For some of us, even our relationship with God is not immune to this phenomenon. We ask: Why didn't God do this or that? OR Why did God allow such a thing to happen? We humans get these notions in our heads of how things are supposed to be or happen. Moreover, when things don't work out that way, we never entertain the possibility that our expectations may have been flawed. Instead, we make the failure God's, Satan's, or someone else's fault (some of us even decide that God must not exist because of the failure)!

Even so, the absurdity of our reasoning is underscored by what Christ's disciples experienced during his ministry - and as a consequence of his death. Consider for just a moment, ALL of these early Jewish followers had been conditioned to have certain expectations about the Messiah. Indeed, the Gospel accounts make very clear that they were all expecting someone who would violently overthrow the Romans and reestablish David's dynasty on the throne of Israel! They certainly were NOT expecting their Messiah to be arrested, placed on trial, and later executed! They had NOT anticipated the Messiah offering himself as a sacrifice for their sins and giving them God's Holy Spirit! They had NOT anticipated his demand that they would have to give their lives in the service of others! On the contrary, they expected to have an in with the new king - to be a part of his administration and ruling over their brethren.

Nevertheless, the Gospels and the book of Acts also inform us that these folks quickly adjusted to their new circumstances. Eventually, they all came to understand that Christ had secured their spiritual salvation and had reconciled them to God. Even so, we know from the epistles of Paul, Peter, James and John that many of them expected Christ to return to this earth during their lifetimes. Indeed, it was only after early Christians began dying, and the apostles approached the end of their own lives, that folks finally realized that that was NOT going to happen. Finally, they came to understand that they had misinterpreted Scripture and had profoundly misunderstood some of Christ's teachings. In other words, the fault wasn't with God or Jesus - it was with THEM and THEIR FAULTY EXPECTATIONS!

How many of us have arrived at that realization about our own expectations? Do we really understand and accept the fact that God is working on his plan and timetable, NOT yours or mine? Sure, it's much easier to excuse ourselves and shift the blame for our disappointments, but are we really being fair to ourselves OR God when we do that? What do you do when things don't work out the way that you expected them to?

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