A Dramatic Change of Expectations

September 21, 2010

I am a college football fan. I enjoy watching the games and keeping up with the winners and losers. Unfortunately for me, this year looks to be a long year because my team, the Tennessee Volunteers, is struggling. If they have a winning record that will be considered a “good” year. That is a far cry from the goals and expectations through the years of this prideful program. In 1998 Tennessee was the National Champions and over the next eight years were their division or conference champions several times.

 But, times have changed. There are many reasons being given for the dramatic turn in expectations in Knoxville. After all, the team has had three different coaches in the last 15 months. A number of players either left the team, were dismissed, or were injured. Recruiting has struggled because of the uncertainty surrounding the program. And, now, the athletic program is being investigated by the NCAA. Add all of those issues together and you come up with less than a championship culture.

 The change in Knoxville reminds me of life. One day you are on the mountain top enjoying a great moment in life. The next thing you know, it all comes crashing down. Sometimes the crash is your fault; sometimes not.  But, either way, you find yourself in the valley wondering how it happened so quickly. At that point you have two options: To become angry and bitter and give up on God. Many have decided on that path for their life. Or we can do the wise thing and cry out to God and trust Him. It is easy for me to write those words. It is harder to put it into practice.

 I am reminded of what Paul wrote in II Corinthians when he was struggling. He began his letter reminding the church, and himself, of the comfort he had found in God. Listen to his words in II Corinthians 1:3-4 “ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

 Paul reminds us that it is God’s nature to comfort us in all our troubles. There are plenty of days I wish that Paul would have said that God removes all of our troubles. Life doesn’t work that way. So, I am still trying to learn that in the midst of troubles, rather than praying for God to fix all of my problems, like Paul I must focus on praising God as He comforts me in my troubles.

 It is not easy. God never promised life would be. But, heaven, that is a different story.


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