Not what I expected…

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Unexpected street sign

Matthew 11:When John (the Baptist) heard in prison what the Messiah (Jesus) was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

John the Baptist, one who had boldly named Jesus as Messiah early on, now appears to have some doubt. It’s pretty obvious that Jesus has not lived up to John’s expectations. John was a fiery sort, extremely confrontational – even combative. Though the bible doesn’t say so explicitly, I’m pretty sure John had expected Jesus to be more of a fighter. Instead, Jesus revealed himself to be a man of peace – not war. Two things come to mind for me from the passage:

(1) There are times when being a disciple of Jesus does not meet our expectations. I give great credit to my wife Jana for her faithfulness in being my partner in life and ministry for almost 30 years now. She grew up attending a small town church where the pastors tended to stay for many years at a time – and things changed slowly, if at all. Our ministry has been very different in just about every way. This is not to say the Lord has not blessed us along the way – he has. But the pace of change has been hard for someone like Jana who isn’t big on change in the first place. She is an amazing woman of God and someone I admire greatly.

(2) Sometimes we don’t live up to other peoples’ expectations. Or others don’t live up to our expectations of them. Early in any relationship we tend to put our best foot forward and ignore the shortcomings of the other. For a while. But after some time, we begin to see the faults and foibles nonetheless. Each of us is a mixed bag of good and not-so-good. A challenge for us, as God’s people, is to learn to love and respect one another- despite our flaws. When we learn to do this, to know each other really well and love each other anyway, we are positioned to do great things for the Lord.

Heavenly Father, human beings are complicated. We can be wonderful and awful at the same time. Yet you choose to use us for your Kingdom purposes. Give us grace to remain faithful when our journey as Christian disciples disappoints. Or even when we disappoint others. Or when others disappoint us. You may lead us down unexpected paths, with unexpected people, but you promise to always go with us. For this we give you thanks and praise, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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