On Monday this week I was able to listen to Moody’s Midday Connection as I drove home from Chicago. This was the first time I was able to listen without interruptions all the way through a program. And so for 80 + miles I thought about how life rarely turns out the way we expect it to turn out. How we often say, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.” And I wondered . . .
Why are we surprised when things don’t turn out the way we expect them to? What about life on this earth makes us think so highly of ourselves that we should expect things to go our way?
God did not create us to have the lives we now have. Because Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, because sin entered the world, we now live imperfect lives. Lives that deal with sickness, pain, death, bankruptcy, divorce, rebellious kids, addictions, wars, terror – the list is endless.
James 1:2 tells us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” not if.
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”
Again, in John 16:33 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Paul shares that God’s “grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
We will face trials, insults, persecution, tribulation, weakness.
God promises joy, blessing, peace, grace.
But nowhere does He promise that things will go as we expect them to go. Or want them to go. We will continue to deal with the consequences of sin in the world until God takes us home. How we live in this sinful world is our maturing process.
When I take my eyes off of God Almighty and look at how my life did not turn out as I expected, I become angry because I am single and will probably die alone. I become bitter because I have worked so very hard and I have years of work ahead of me. I become discontent because I don’t have all that I want. I have set my eyes on the temporal and lost sight of the eternal.
And with one simple look away from God and toward myself, I have yanked control of my life away from the Hand of the One Who created me. Who loves me. Who knows exactly what I need.
In truth, I have not gotten what I expected, but neither have I gotten what I deserve. For I have received God’s Grace, His Mercy, His Salvation, His Son.
It is time to take our eyes off of ourselves. Off of what we expect and to fix our eyes on the God of Grace. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, we must take our focus off the “sin that so easily entangles us” and “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Fix – meaning to be set, stable, permanent. Fix our eyes on Jesus and don’t take them off of Him.
For He promises us life eternal which will be far better than we ever expected.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.