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How to Set Healthy Expectations When Life is not Fair

Backflip into a pool

“Life’s Not Fair.” I wish I had a dime every time I have to say this to my kids or our college staff. As each of us needs reminding of this all too often as well…Seth helps us point our compass North to remember God’s goodness and set healthy expectations.

Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

All too often our kids (ok us too!) complain about their insurmountable situation that no one has ever encountered in the history of humans. And yet, the sad truth is at least several times a month I find myself in the same thought patterns. There is something in most of us that thinks life should be fairer. We suspect that God has failed to generously provide for us.

What are the ways we doubt God’s generosity and what is the truth?

  1. Remember God’s true character and adjust our view accordingly. Jesus viewed God as a generous God providing for not only humans but also giving thought to His entire creation (Matthew 6:25-26). How did He come by this view when He was a homeless, traveling speaker (Luke 9:58)? He saw it all over the story of Israel. God’s people are trapped in slavery in Egypt and they cry out to Him and He hears them. Then He saves them and sends them to a land to be free. Every time they looked at their land and property, they were to remember they were slaves, and God rescued them. When we look around our house, drive our car or look at our family, will we remember that God has rescued us and blessed us (like Jesus)? Or will we think about what we don’t have that our neighbors may have (like Israel)?
  2. Rethink our view of blessings and our expectations for them. When God chose to bless Abraham, He was not cursing the world. He was blessing the world through one man (Gen 12:3). One person’s blessing is not my curse. This is a phrase my wife has used frequently as we house hunted, changed jobs (that made no sense financially), experienced cars breaking down with no money to repair them, and walked through a miscarriage. God has blessed us during all our situations. It has not always been when or how we expected it, but it has been good. And isn’t that just like Jesus: not what we expected, but ultimately so good.

Life may not be fair, but God is good. All too often our expectations need to change to be in line with our God who works an unfair/evil world into good (Gen 50:20). How do you see God’s goodness today?

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