There is no shortage of Bible teachers and preachers who want us to believe that God has a great plan for us. They would have us believe that if we have enough faith, we can overcome any of life’s obstacles so that we can enjoy prosperity, health, and success in this life. They try to convince us that if we are serious about our walk with Jesus, then things will always go well for us … always!
And then there are those of us who live in the real world.
We visit Jesus-followers in the hospital whose health continues to decline and then they die. We counsel devout Christians who have experienced unspeakable injustice and must live with the consequences of someone else’s actions for the rest of their life. We try to encourage followers of Jesus who, no matter how hard they try, are not skilled enough to get a high paying job and so they are doomed to live below the poverty line until God calls them home.
On and on I could go. There are plenty of people who are serious about pursuing holiness that are reminded daily of how hard this life can be.
Yes, they are trusting in Jesus.
Yes, they are striving to live in complete obedience to Him.
Yes, they are people of amazing faith.
And yet life is hard for them and it seems that it isn’t going to get easier.
Has God abandoned them? Is it because of a lack of faith that they are doomed to live a life with such profound unmet expectations?
Just listen to a verse I read this morning in Hebrews 11 where numerous men and women of profound faith are mentioned. In fact, this chapter is commonly called the chapter of “The Hall of Faith.”
Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
Did you get that? As the writer of Hebrews was moved by God’s Holy Spirit to pen that verse, he said that the men and women of amazing faith that he had been writing about died with unmet expectations. They were people of amazing faith but they didn’t get all that they were trusting God for. They had experienced plenty of difficulty and injustice.
But, they were fine with it. Even though life didn’t play out like they had hoped and it ended up being much more difficult than they had anticipated, they didn’t fall apart. They didn’t panic. They didn’t get angry and bitter.
How were they able to reconcile trusting in God while at the same time experiencing a life of unmet expectations?
They were looking toward Heaven, friend! They realized that this world was broken. Life was going to be hard. Some of the things they desired just weren’t going to happen. Injustices and questions were to be expected.
But it was OK because their faith was allowing them to look forward to a day when things would go well – in Heaven!
It is true that we should make the most of this life. It is also true that there is more than enough reason for Christians to be happy and enjoy the moments of this life.
Yet, reality makes it clear that this life won’t be all fun and games. We will go through dark valleys. Even as we are trusting in Him, things will not go well.
So let the disappointments of this life cause you to look toward your eternal home. Let the tough times cause you to lift your eyes to the place where you will be with your Lord forever.
… in that place where every expectation that we have will be met.
Hebrews 11:39-40 (NLT) “All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”
(If you believe this post was helpful to you and/or could help others, feel free to click on one or more of the social media links below and share it in your network. Thanks!)