When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned
Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. Matthew 17:22-23
My wife at I recently attended a beautiful wedding, which prompted us to look back at ours. When the young couple got to their vows, promising to love each other every day, we looked at one another, both understanding the naivety with which all young couples enter marriage. On our wedding day, life was a fairy tale with nothing but blue skies and sunshine ahead.
Life doesn’t always go as planned though. Sometimes spouses make destructive choices, lose their jobs, and go to chemical dependency treatment. Marriage isn’t a fairy tale, bad things happen, and ‘til death do us part isn’t quite what we thought. In the loss and pain, it’s natural to turn on God. Why would you allow this? God has disappointed us, failing to deliver on expectations.
Why does God allow such disappointment? Today’s passage gives some insight into the answer. In it, the disciples too, met with evaporated dreams. They had given up their lives to follow Jesus, who was supposed to lead them into a new kingdom. In today’s passage though, Jesus predicted his impending death, which destroyed the disciple’s hopes.
At the time, they could not comprehend how anything good could come from Jesus’ death. When he was crucified, the disciples must have felt utterly defeated. It was only after the resurrection, that they understood. In understanding, their faith must have grown exponentially. Even in the darkest night, when we didn’t understand, God was still working.
Unfortunately, we often grow only in the hard times. This, it seems, is part of why God allows them. If our lives were made perfect, I’m not sure God would ever hear from us again. Like the disciples, it’s in our need that we learn faith.
The hardest thing is that some disappointments won’t be undone in this life. I found recovery, but not everyone does. Some hurts aren’t healed in the here and now. Christ’s resurrection is the promise that one day, all things will be made right. Accepting that, however, takes a tremendous amount of faith. God is the only one with eternity in his hands though, which means that particularly in the disappointments, we must do whatever it takes to keep our eyes on him.