God Will Disappoint You!

(Mat 16:20-25 NKJV) Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. {21} From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. {22} Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" {23} But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." {24} Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. {25} "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Some might be tempted to pick up stones and throw them at me after reading the title of this devotional. After all, are we not taught that God will never let us down? That He will always be there for us? Yes. But He also said that my ways are not your ways. Once in a while we all run into the situation like Peter does in the above passage, where what God is telling us or what God does simply does not fit into our nicely defined parameters.

Peter had just successfully answered the question of "Who do men say that I am?" "You are the Christ," Peter had responded. But now the underlying question had to be answered. Who was the Christ? What was His mission? What was He to accomplish?

Peter, and most likely the rest of the disciples, had the idea that the Christ was to establish the house and rule of David once again. They foresaw in Christ the casting off of the Roman yoke and once again having a kingdom established that would never again be conquered by other nations.

But Jesus had other intentions, as we know so well from this vantage point. When Jesus began to talk of death and suffering on a cross, these things simply did not fit into Peter's concept of who Christ was. How can one who is to set up a Kingdom die? Would not that be following suit with all the other self-proclaimed Messiahs of the day? Death simply did not fit into Peter's concept of who the Christ was to be. Basically, God had let Peter down.

When two people get married, they often have expectations of one another. Inevitably, each of them is "let down" by the other person because they don't fulfill those expectations. In some cases, it is due to one person or the other not fulfilling valid and usual expectation in a marital situation. Often, however, it is due to one person coming into the marriage with one set of expectations of what marriage will be like while the other comes with a completely different set of expectations. The two paradigms of what marriage is about clash and they let each other down in different ways. Successful marriages, in effect, are able to work through these conflicting paradigms and eventually mold them into one workable paradigm that both can live by. In this way, the "two become one" as well.

But when we are talking about God, we are on a totally different level. If we are aware that His ways are not our ways and our ways are not His ways, it only makes sense that we are often going to run into situations where what God is doing makes absolutely no sense to us. This does not mean that we do not try to understand and come to grips with these types of things. However, the popular tendency is to want to put God in a box, to have Him all figured out, to bind Him by His promises so that He has to perform according to our wishes. We want Him to fit into our expectations. Thus, we often treat God with a pragmatic focus. I have this need and that need. Some even go so far as to say that if one has enough faith, it has to happen this way. Yes, we need to bring our needs to God, but what are we expecting? That's where the trouble begins. That is when God does not "measure up" to our standards.

Humility means that once we have given a need over to God, we are content with whatever the answer is because we truly trust God. That is faith. Whether the answer fits our paradigm or not. Whether it involves a party or a cross, we accept it with thanksgiving realizing that God will use "all things for our good", that is, we trust Him to not allow anything to come to us that will not serve in the end to draw us closer to Him. We must expect God to disappoint us at times and be OK with that!

In the end, of course, we will not be disappointed. But if we really believe that He is God, then we will find some "crosses" in our journey that must be picked up if we are to grow towards Him and trust Him in all things. When we are able to do that we will know that humility has taken root and pride has taken a back seat to God's will. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added unto you as well." (Matt. 6:33)