Life rarely turns out the way we expect it to turn out. How often do we say, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way?” We just finished a Thanksgiving holiday which was nothing like we expected. We aren’t sure what to expect for Christmas.
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 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 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” not if.
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11).
Again, in John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Paul shares that God’s “grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We will face trials, insults, persecution, tribulation, and weakness. God promises joy, blessing, peace, and 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 more 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.
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, and 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” (Hewbrews 12:1-2 NASB). 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.
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