I have appointments outside the office on a regular basis, and when I do, I have a tendency to work up to the very last second, grab my keys and rush out to my car so that I arrive on time. This system works – most of the time. So, the other day I was in full swing, looked at the clock, rushed out the office door to my car, started the engine and I was on my way with 20 minutes to spare. Perfect timing again.
But, about halfway there, I hit a snag. Road construction. I watched my 20 minutes slip away as I sat for 30 and ended up being late, something I hate. Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated and irritated.
Why did I get so aggravated? Because I expected no delays; I expected a clear road; and I did not expect construction. You know what else I expected? I expected the battery in my car to be charged; the starter and alternator to be working; the engine to turn over; and my tires to be filled with air. In retrospect, there were a lot of expectations I had in order to make just one simple meeting in time.
How many more expectations do we have in our relationships, especially in marriage? If we are honest with ourselves, there are many – just take a minute to think about them. And, it is this that we discussed during our last RMG.
So, here is the bottom line, our relationships in marriage—or elsewhere—are with other sinners (Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:12), so why in the world do we expect them to do anything but sin? We should be expecting regular road construction delays along the road of life.
Don’t get me wrong, we should hold one another accountable, and we should approach our fellow believers with the Word in truth and love (2 Timothy 3:16); that is exactly what we should do, in the process of sanctification. But, we should not hold them to a false standard of perfection that, quite honestly, has everything to do what we think things should be like as opposed to how God has allowed them to be in His sovereignty.
If we treated our cars like we treat our relationships – an interesting parallel for some – we would never fill the gas tank, change the oil or check the fluids. We would just expect it to work without any effort at all, and some of us would even think it should automatically transform into a brand new model each year.
To help put things in perspective and to keep our feet grounded in reality, we should continually remind ourselves of our own sin and frailty. This has an automatic impact on our level of expectations – or at least it should. Who am I to expect anything from anyone when after I take a good long look in the mirror? I am more like a car with no battery, flat tires, leaking brakes and a cracked radiator.
When I am thinking to myself, “so-and-so should have done this or that” there should be a huge red warning light on my mental dashboard flashing “HYPOCRITE … HYPOCRITE … HYPOCRITE.”
BUT, there is a place for expectations… we have a Lord and Savior who is perfect and has not sinned, and in Him we can expect to find love, hope, peace and joy. Although, incomprehensibly, He loves us for exactly who we are – desperately wicked sinners. He has no expectations for us because He already knows who we are and what we will do, and He wants us to have hope, peace and joy regardless.
In thinking about that this week, I found it to be the greatest of all ironies. The One who has every right to expect anything and everything from His creation expects nothing. In fact, He has to supply His people with even the ability to respond to Him. This week, thank God for the irony.