By Gretchen Fleming
“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Luke 7:19
As I sat there that Sunday morning, I tried to maintain my composure because I was on the verge of tears…….again. Utterly overwhelmed and in despair, I thought, “This is not what I had in mind for my life!!”
Waiting for church to begin, I began to take notice of who was in front of us. As I looked at some of these dear people, I knew their stories and I began to realize what we had in common—we were all in circumstances not of our choosing.
While the crises varied from health or marriage, to financial or prodigals, we shared the same reality – Hopeless in our circumstances.
Why was life conflicting with our hopes?
Why was OUR FAITH defying our expectations for that matter?
I was reminded of John the Baptist as he sat in prison for doing the right thing. In Luke 3, John faithfully fulfilled his role to prepare the way for Jesus.
He preached, he rebuked, he baptized, and he exhorted the people to produce fruit in regard to their repentance.
It was when he rebuked Herod the tetrarch for his sin that he found himself sent to prison.
Even though John knew that Jesus was the Lamb of God sent to take away the sin of the world, that God Himself revealed this to John (John 1:29-34), he still began doubting as he languished in prison.
What was rocking John to the very core of his faith?
Jesus was defying his expectations!
Even though Jesus knew of John’s circumstances, He did not rescue him.
That is what I was feeling that Sunday morning. I was wrestling with why Jesus was not rescuing us from our pain, from the circumstances that made us feel betrayed and hopeless. (Image via Pixabay)
Even though we had tried with all our might to do what was right by God and others, why was it turning out like this?
I thought back to Jesus’s answer to John in Luke 7:23, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Jesus is saying to John, to all of us, that He is not always going to respond according to our expectations. He has something better than our temporal relief in mind.
He wants to set us free from the captivity of needing a rescue in order to triumph.
Just as John had to reconcile his faith with his expectations, so we do as well. We have to plant our faith firmly in what we know to be Truth. No matter the circumstances, no matter the outcomes, we know what we know!
This side of heaven, problems will confront us continually. But there is something better than one desperate rescue after another—hope in a God who enables us to overcome despite our troubles!
Jesus had told John that he would be blessed if he did not let go of his faith, but he did need to let go of his expectations.
Ultimately, so did we.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
The ability to endure, to remain steadfast, comes from the unfailing love and unshakable peace that can conquer all our circumstances. God’s love and peace sustains us when we are at our weakest.
Now that is a hope making a difference through all of our circumstances!
This post was written by Gretchen Fleming.
Yes, yes, yes! You are correct- “this side of Heaven, problems will confront us continually”. I just wrote about Heaven too. 😀😀
I love your beginning story. We all sit, in church, thinking about the problems we know we have without realizing the difficulties others are going through. Your scriptures speak to our hurting hearts, though. To God be the glory! He is here for all of us.
Amen Erin! How blessed we are that He is here for us and grants us eyes to see His perspective on life when we unknowingly become skewed in ours. Recognizing that problems WERE the norm this side of heaven made my life so much easier really. I stopped fighting against the inevitable and began to use that energy and effort to draw nearer to Him as I went through the troubles.
MY GOD!!!! This word truly blessed me today!!! I am speechless except to say thank you, Lord, for showing me the big picture. Awesome word!!!
So grateful Karen that you were served and blessed by this today! I love it when He grants us the perspective we are desperately needing 😉🙏
Though a great minister John had his doubts, just like most people do. But His ministry had to decrease for Jesus’ to take over and explode on the scene. His death grieved Jesus and He went and healed people. I’m not sure I have any unrealistic expectations of Jesus, however I have had them about people, and about how much faith I thought they had. I try to pray with them on whatever level they are at.
Great points Rebecca! Sometimes I’ve found I had expectations I didn’t even realize of others. Good word to be careful of that:) 👍
That fine line between goal setting, hope, and expectations is a fine one! God puts dreams in our hearts which are good and meant for us to pursue. Yet when we make those dreams expectations we close our minds and hearts to faith only resulting in disappointment and hopelessness. Our faith must continue to say, “I believe God has this and as His Will is done, I will be okay.”
Love this new space of HOPE! And as always, Gretchen! I love your words of hope ♥
Blessings and smiles,