When You Expect the Worst from Life

Originally published Sunday, 10 July 2016.

I saw a television show recently where one of the characters remarked that because things were going so well in his life, he anticipated something bad to happen any minute. He told his friends that that "universe always balances things out." I laughed to myself as I watched the show, thinking what a ridiculous idea that was.

But not too long later, I found myself thinking something similar. I was thinking about how God had answered my twenty-year prayer to move as well as made my dream to write a book a reality. Two blessings had occurred in my life and my first thought was, "I wonder what trial lies around the corner?"

While not the exact same thinking as the character on the television show, it was similar nonetheless. I assumed that God needed to round out the blessings in my life with something hard. As though there is a limit to how many blessings he gives. As though there is a formula to how he works in my life. As though he is an impersonal God who gives out blessings and trials for no other reason than to keep the scales balanced.

To be truthful, I am an Eeyore by nature. I tend to see the dark side of things and expect the worst. I see the glass as half empty rather than half full. And so it comes as no surprise that I would barely take the time to enjoy the gifts I've been given before I pessimistically anticipate a storm brewing in the distance. 

But I don't like living life that way. It sucks the joy right out of me. Not only that, but the thoughts I had were wrong and I needed to confront them. I had to remind myself the truth of who God is. I had to remember that everything God gives is out of the overflow of his grace whether it is an answer to prayer, a hard day, a dream come true, or a difficult trial. In each and every moment of my life God is working to transform me into the image of his Son. In both the blessings and in the trials, he is refining me and preparing me for eternity. There is a redemptive purpose behind every circumstance I encounter in life; all things are for my good and his glory.

I also needed to confess those thoughts to the Lord. I asked for his forgiveness for viewing him as an impersonal God who merely works to even out the blessings in my life rather than the God who gave up every blessing in heaven to take on human flesh and live in this fallen world so that he could endure the worst suffering on my behalf. And by his blood shed for me, give me the greatest blessing of all--eternity with him. 

Perhaps you also tend to see the dark side things. Maybe it is hard for you to enjoy the sweet sunshine today because you fear a storm will come tomorrow. In those moments, we must remember who our God is and how he works. We must recite this truth over and over until it becomes the song of our heart, 

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:31-39).