Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? Often disappointments come out of nowhere, leaving us empty with despair. Without something to remind us that perhaps we aren’t thinking rightly or searching in the right places to level out our expectations, is despair all we have to look forward to?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
Life is full of people who let us down. Hardly a day goes by in most lives where hopes aren’t threatened by someone who didn’t live up to expectations. As a supervisor I once had to fire a friend for cause. It still ranks today as one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. It was the right thing, but seemed so wrong. When the individual left my office, he was sad, scared and emotionally wrought. I wasn’t much better. Additionally, however, I felt a deep sense of disappointment. A friend had let me down and put me into a situation both embarrassing and emotionally disturbing. I was left disillusioned and despaired that a friendship was likely jeopardized. Unfortunately, it also left me with the distinct feeling that I had failed him, not he me. At the moment, and for some time after that, my role as a supervisor was afflicted with doubt. It took some time to recover my confidence and give the rest of my staff the supervision I owed them. Of immense help were two things: the expensive diploma hanging on my office wall and an inspiring plaque my wife had given me for Father’s Day. The healing came over time, but not first without a good measure of despair.
It’s easy to understand how disillusionment may continue to be an ever-present danger throughout life. Often it comes out of nowhere and leaves us empty with despair. Without something to remind us that perhaps we aren’t thinking rightly or searching in the right places to level out our expectations, we may be left only with despair–an awful place to dwell.
Here’s a story. The American painter, John Sargent, once painted a panel of roses that was highly praised by critics. It was a small picture, but it approached perfection. Although offered a high price for it on many occasions, Sargent refused to sell it. He considered it his best work and was very proud of it. Whenever he was deeply discouraged and doubtful of his abilities as an artist, he would look at it and remind himself, “I painted that.” Then his confidence and ability would come back to him. (Bits & Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 9.)
How do you balance expectations in your life? I believe all of us need to take note of what the gospel writer John, had to say in Chapter 2, verse 24-25. “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.” Jesus’s expectations were in his Heavenly Father, not in his friends, his family, or for that matter his disciples. He trusted God first and finally. God was the perfection of holiness, that perfect painting of faith, that ministered to his confidence in a very difficult undertaking of bringing the truth of the Good News to all men. When you and I don’t look to him for our confidence, we will end up looking to others. Ultimately, they will let us down. To do that we must refuse ourselves the luxury of trusting in that which we can physically see over that which we can see only by faith. We need to love God more than man and our expectations will never lead us to despair.
We pray. Thank you Lord for giving us something to have faith in, confidence toward, and hope for: the message of grace and mercy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lord, we too often put our trust in the things and people of this world and often these let us down. Forgive us when we found our expectations on what we see over what we can only have faith in: your love, grace and mercy. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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