Expectation and Disappointment
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. Acts 5:41
I often have specific expectations of how I think my life should turn out, how others should act, and how the world should run. Then, when these expectations are unmet, I’m frustrated. Usually, in my disappointment, I’m forced to admit that my expectations were ridiculous and unreasonable in the first place.
I wrote yesterday of the technical difficulties I’ve been having with the blog’s website. Over the last week or two, this has been a source of recurrent frustration.* Multiple times lately, I’ve directed that frustration at God. I know it sounds stupid, but I’ve said this: I’m writing this blog out of obedience to you. If I’m following your will, you should fix the glitches. I shouldn’t have to endure any trials when I’m doing what you want. Don’t you want me to write this blog? Is that what your telling me, that I should quit? Sigh. Dramatic. I know.
Today’s passage helped me realize that I have unrealistic expectations of God. In the story, some of the apostles were arrested, put on trial, and beaten for sharing the gospel. At that point, I’m quite sure that I’d be more than a little frustrated with God. You told me to spread the gospel. If that’s really what you want me to do, then couldn’t you make it a little easier? Couldn’t you protect me from arrests and beatings? The apostles though, had the opposite reaction. They rejoiced that they suffered for Jesus. They saw it as confirmation of their mission and as a badge of honor to face trials for Christ.
I’m not comparing my blogging problems with being arrested and beaten. I’m just saying that the passage makes me realize that my skewed perspective has me expecting something from God that he’s never promised.
Following Christ does mean that I stop causing my own self-destruction, but living as a disciple doesn’t guaranteed the easy life. In fact, it probably guarantees the opposite. Jesus taught that we will know trials in this life, but that’s also how he teaches and grows us. When I expect the easy life, I resent God when I don’t get my way. When, however, I choose the proper perspective, I’m able to see the difficult times as opportunities to grow in my faith and recovery.
*As of today, I think the glitches are resolved . . . hopefully.