In my last blog post I talked about “Unrealistic Expectations” and promised to explore some of the reasons our expectations of God are unrealistic (and thus why we get frustrated or even furious with Him). I mentioned several ways in which we think God should act. Here are my responses to why those expectations are unrealistic.
• Show the same grace to all of us by treating us all the same
No child ever has to be taught about fairness. The heart’s cry for justice is part of our design. But we are broken in our understanding of so many things, and we usually equate fairness with equality. We want God to treat everyone the same way. But God isn’t doing the same thing in everyone; He is creating a masterpiece that will bring glory to Him and goodness to us for all eternity, and His means and tools will differ from person to person. Creating a masterpiece of sculpture in a piece of marble takes different tools and techniques than creating a masterpiece of an oil painting. It’s a good thing that God doesn’t treat us all the same.
• Give us an easy life
Easy, sheltered, enabled lives produce spoiled, entitled children. God’s intention is that we grow up to maturity, which necessitates learning to survive the bumps in the road and the harder aspects of living in a fallen world. He is creating an adult, glorious bride for the Lamb, who is fit to reign with Him. An easy life is completely inadequate to the task of preparing us as the church to become the bride of Christ.
• If I do all the right things to be “a good person,” God should do His part to make life work the way I want it to
That linear “A ensures B” kind of thinking makes sense to our limited, immature minds, but reality doesn’t work that way. We cannot manipulate God to make life work the way we want it to. We are part of a much bigger picture that involves spiritual warfare, the battle against our own flesh, and God’s purposes that can only be accomplished in ways we don’t understand in the process.
One of the most important places of understanding God wants us to reach is the profound truth I saw on a t-shirt once:
2 essential truths:
1. There is a God.
2. You are not him.
God is God, and we are not. We don’t get to dictate the way life works, and God will lovingly bring us to the point, as many times as necessary, where we let go of the illusion that we are in control.
He is in control. We are not. And that’s a good thing.
But the granddaddy of unrealistic, albeit understandably so, expectations are these: