Mistaken expectations can leave us confused and even put us in harm’s way. A newspaper photographer in Los Angeles got a call from his editor, who told him he wanted pictures of the fire that was raging out of control in Palos Verdes. The editor told him that there was a plane waiting for him at the county airport and that he needed to get the pictures and get back in a hurry. They were needed for the evening edition.
The photographer raced off to the airport, and found everything just as his boss had described. He jumped into the plane and yelled, “Let’s go!” The pilot took off and within minutes they were within sight of the raging fire. The photographer then instructed him to swoop down near the flames so that he could get some pictures. The man looked surprised and asked, “Why?” The reporter snapped back, “Because I’m a photographer and that’s what photographers do: they take pictures.” After a moment or two of complete silence, the pilot stuttered, “Does that mean you’re not the flight instructor?”
If we enter the Christian life with the expectation of ease and comfort, we shall be disappointed. Jesus does not call people to pursue success but to follow him. Following him will eventually lead to “fullness of joy . . . and pleasures forever more,” but along the way we will encounter our share of difficulties: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” said Paul and Barnabas bluntly (Acts 14:22).
If we expect God to make life easy and keep us out of all troubles, we will inevitably feel that he has let us down. But if we expect him to be with us in trouble, to glorify his name and work ceaseless good in us and through us – that is, if we trust in him – we will never be disappointed.
“The one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16)