When my now, 29 year old started school , back in Adelaide and the tender age of five, I felt really unqualified to send my child to school. I almost felt like I had to pass some sort of test!!! Anyway, she was a bit nervous about it, and we had been out, done all the purchases of school uniform, backpack about her size, she was pretty small, and we were ready to go. On the morning of her first day of school she took me aside and asked me to remind her why she had to go to school. I told her something along the lines of, she needs to learn to read and write and when she does that she will be able to do anything she sets her heart on. She looked at me, a bit doubtfully, but said, fine. At the end of the school day, I am there with all the other parents waiting for our little darlings to come out, and out comes mine. She stomps down the steps, throws the backpack, almost as big as her, at my feet, looks up at me with a look of thunder, hands on hips, and says in a very loud voice, “School is dumb!” Trying to muster whatever dignity and supressing the amused grin I had on my lips, I replied, “Why is that darling?” She replies, “We didn’t learn to read or write today!!!” Getting some odd looks from parents, some incredulous, some sympathetic, I relied, “darling that’s why you have 13 years of school, to learn all that, and more.” “Thirteen years!!!?” She thunders, “thought wed be done by the end of the week!!!”
Needless to say we have had an interesting intervening 24 years!!!!
Life is sometimes like our daughters’ experience and expectations of starting school. We have certain expectations, and those expectations are not met, or we are surprised that our expectations do not line up with reality. Some expectations are that children will out live their parents, that doesn’t always happen, other expectations that we will be able to get a job, have friends, have a happy life. These expectations are either often not met, or do not line up with reality. Two expectations I try to manage for new people coming to church is, don’t assume everyone in church is a Christian, and don’t confuse Christianity with the church. Sad, I know, but the reality is we in the church are sinful fallen human beings, and our interaction with each other will not always meet expectations.
With God, however, things are different. While it is true that having a relationship with God does not automatically make everything ok, what it does do is make life something we can cope with. I am reminded of the Beatitudes in Chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel, “Blessed are….” In these famous words we have an understanding of what life with God is like. “Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.” it is not a promise of being taken out of the situation, but a promise of transformation of the situation. The promise of God being there with us, right in the midst, enabling us to cope, to endure, and to ultimately succeed.
When you reflect on your life what have been your expectations? Were they fulfilled, if so how, if not, why not? Did you include God in them? If not why not? I would love to hear your comments, and engage in the conversation with you on this. Unfortunately, due to hacking concerns we cant do this here, but if you go to the St. Johns Facebook page you will see the reference to this blog where we can engage in the conversation. Happy to answer your questions. Blessings.