Faith and Realistic Expectations

At one time or another every Christian and non-Christian is told something to the effect of, “My life was horrible until I found God.” That is like music to the struggling non-believer’s ears, and it results in many turning to God for a way out of a horrible life. Let’s face it! Being a believer is a beautiful thing, but life is not all roses when you give your life to the Lord. God challenges our thoughts, our actions, our will, and in turn it can lead to confusion, resentment, and power struggle.

Perhaps what people are trying to say when they say their life was horrible until they found God, is that their purpose and destiny have changed. Let’s look at the life of Jesus for example. Jesus was born in a barn, out of wedlock to a young, traveling couple. Later in life he was teased, ridiculed, beaten, forced to carry the cross (the equivalent of an electric chair), hung on that cross, alone and left to die by his own Father. Do you still think life is all rosy after you give your life to God? If you do, you are in for a big surprise.

I believe those that turn away from their faith, usually do so because their faith is challenged by a major trial in life. What if, while standing in that baptismal pool, your pastor said, “Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and accept any suffering and persecution that is guaranteed to come with that decision?” Would you still be baptized?

Consider this. Imagine you have no honest married friends or family. They’ve all told you only positive things about marriage, claiming they’ve never wished they weren’t married. When you walked down the aisle you would be completely clueless as to what you were getting yourself into. In the same way the church could be much more realistic in their approach to evangelism and conversion. Instead of counting only the good feelings that come from being a Christ-follower, perhaps we should warn against all the human disappointment there can be even in the midst of divine appointment.

When we surrender to God often something totally unexpected happens, and as it was discussed at my Bible Study last night, unexpected is usually not fun for the power-struggle of the human will.  We all think we are in control until we surrender.

One thing is guaranteed. When we surrender to God, His will is done.                                            “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

I can speak from my own experience that the good outweighs the bad, because looking at my life in reverse, I see how God used the “bad”, the trials, the mistakes, the hardships for a positive purpose.

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