Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Isn't it funny how disappointment is often linked to how we expect a situation to turn out, or how we expect life to turn out. Many misunderstandings, heartache, and pain are over a disappointment in expectations. We expected to have a healthy baby when we had Toby. I may expect my husband to respond in a certain way and he doesn't, then I'm angry or frustrated. Just since May we have experienced the sudden death of my grandmother and step-grandfather, a weird yearly unexplained rash on my hands, arms, neck and face that caused my eye to swell shut, a broken arm, unexplained mold on the back of hanging pictures in the boys' bedroom, and a broken dryer.

When I called my husband to explain the broken dryer, that just so happened to stop working on the day he was flying to Atlanta.

"Don't you think enough bad has happened to us recently, can't we get a break?"

His response:

"No, that's life, Carrie."

And you know what, he's right. One thing God has been teaching me lately is how comfort and ease of life is a false god in my life, and especially in the lives of American Christians. On my very very worst day, it's still better than someone else's best day. So, then I began to wonder should I just expect everything to go wrong and then be surprised if it goes right? Do I need to change my expectations? Instead of expecting life to be easy, comfortable, less chaotic, and organized - do I expect it to be the opposite and maybe I won't be half as surprised or grieved when curve balls are thrown my way. It seems a gloomy way to look at life - glass half empty instead of glass half full.

I DO NOT believe we should live without hope or look at life negatively, but the Bible does instruct us NOT to be surprised when bad things happen.

Peter talked about this,  in I Peter 4:12 "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you."

Jesus said in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

In this world you have tribulation, and we will. Don't be surprised when the fiery trial comes, yet so often we are. I have been currently reading through a book called Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah McKenzie, and it's message (Biblically based) has been teaching me not only how to home school from a state of rest, but how to life life from a state of rest even in the midst of absolute chaos.  Even if you aren't a home schooling mom, I highly recommend the book (she has a new edition coming out in August) because what she talks about is so applicable to LIFE. In the chapter The Cake Under the Couch, she relates all of those little daily things that happen to us - the broken dryer, the toddler tantrum, the car breaking down, etc. and says, (these were my list - she listed different things)

"Can you hit the pause button on your frustration long enough to realize that people rank infinitely higher than anything else on the list? Have you considered that God may have scooted these people into view for the very purpose of slowing you down? (p.23)

Whatever is getting in the way of your plan for the day,...whatever that intrusion into your grand plan for the day is, it's also an opportunity to enter into rest. (p.24)

and now a quote from C.S.Lewis

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls ones' 'real life' is a phantom of one's own imagination. 
-C.S. Lewis (McKenzie, A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace, p.23-24)

I laughed when I read this because this is ME. I lament the juice spilled on the floor, or the broken dryer (did I mention our dryer is broken - just in case you missed that), the little inconveniences of every day life because they interrupt my plans. They interrupt my comfort. I just want them to be over with so I can get on and live my "real life". Yet, that is life. These interruptions should also be driving us to interact with the people in our lives to take the time to get on eye level with that child and say, "It's okay, let's clean this up together." instead of ranting and raving how their mistake interrupted plans for the day. (I am so guilty of this).

But, what about the BIG things? Death, diagnosis, disease, health issues - those aren't small things. How do we live from rest in the big things? The same was with the small - taking time to trust, rest, pray, and live connected with the One who knows and has experienced life as we know it.

Hebrews 2:17-18
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. 

Hebrews 4:15-16
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Our pastor preached on these scriptures last Sunday and pointed out that Jesus is the only God of all the religions of the world - the God of all gods who came to earth to be like His people. He left the glory of heaven to experience life and suffering, ultimately to die a death for sins he did not commit so we could have a relationship with him. He doesn't ask for us to be perfect, to follow a set of rules, but to lay aside our sin and follow Him.

He experienced so many things as a man on earth:

*financial hardship (but the Son of Man has now where to lay his head, Luke 9:58), 
*emotional suffering (Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done, Luke 22:58), 
*loss of relationship (He was betrayed by Judas)
*physical suffering (beaten, crown of thorns, cat of nine tails, crucified)
*persecution and mocking (And Herod with his solders treated him with contempt and mocked him, Luke 23:11)
*betrayal and denial (by Judas and Peter)
*temptation (Matthew 4)

Yet, through it all, the writer of Hebrews says we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. He knows suffering. He wept when Lazarus died, even though He knew He would raise him to life again. He experienced hard things and can sympathize with us in our weakness because He isn't the God in heaven so far removed from us, but He is Emmanuel - God With Us.

I want to fall on my knees and worship and cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy."

As a result I can go on and have new expectations, not that life is going to be easy or that life isn't going to be....."life", but that He is with me. He will never leave me. He is faithful. He is merciful. His love is never ending. The more I live connected with Him, the more I bring my petitions before Him, my weaknesses, my failures - the more His Holy Spirit empowers me to face circumstances that are beyond my control and I can have peace in all circumstances, joy in trials, faith in hardships.Whatever we face, with Christ, there is always hope, and I can put all my expectations in Him because He never fails.

1 comment:

  1. Carrie,
    Thank you for this post! It is especially timely as we are going through our own trials right now. I think sometimes American Christian's think that blessing involves finical blessing and don't realize that Spiritual Blessing is not equivalent to an easy, carefree life. Thanks for reminding me that, though circumstances disappoint--He NEVER fails!