The Year Of Small Expectations
My remaining cat is sick and the truck needs service…I will have to choose between transportation and my pet and the pet will win.
We will schedule surgery on my hands this week and the ultrasound on my heart will be the week after.
There was a time when I would have prayed fervently about these matters, hoping for divine intercession.
Life has taught me that such intercession is rare…perhaps there is intercession we do not notice, but we have to take that by faith.
Prayer is important to the life of faith, but I’m not sure why other than as a defiant rebellion against the unbelief in my soul.
My hope is dim and my dreams are usually nightmares.
Still, I believe.
When we first hear “the Gospel” we’re told (of course) that we are sinners in need of a Savior and God has provided one.
That is true.
However, those who tell us this “good news” often do not believe it is good enough to sway us into full acceptance of the Christian life so they throw in some sweeteners…like car salesmen throwing in the leather package for free.
“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.
We are regaled by the tales of George Mueller and other saints who had every prayer answered and every need met…as if that is normative to Christian experience.
My reality is that the cat might die, the truck repairs will be expensive, I’ll be broke and broken for months, and surgery is…surgery.
That is not my idea of a wonderful plan, nor does it feel much like love.
Still, I believe.
I believe because the clear teaching of Scripture is that Jesus overcame this world through suffering and death and that if I follow Him, I will overcome it the same way.
I believe because the only thing that makes sense of such a broken world (and the only God I could worship in it) is a God who suffered like me, suffered for me, suffered with me, and will raise me up again into a world without suffering.
His singular motivation to take on our suffering was love.
My expectation for 2019 is that I will suffer…because I will follow Him.
My hope is that God will mediate that with the grace to endure it with a measure of joy.
I will pray because I’m commanded to do so and because it’s impossible to have a relationship with someone you don’t talk to.
I will hope that my Lord will throw in some surprise “sweeteners” along the way…just to remind me of the blessings to come.
I believe, help my unbelief.
Happy New Year…make your own application…