If our lives are unfolding as expected, wonderful. However, if we can relate to the expression that “expectations are just premeditated resentments,” if crises of health, finances or injustice have slashed our dreams, then we will want some relief.
• Remember who God is. When the road has been rough, we might be tempted to accuse God. However, God is not our problem. God loves us and seeks our well-being. He sent his son to be sacrificed to ensure it (John 3:16; 10:10). God does not tempt us (James 1:13). Every good gift comes from God (James 1:17).
• Focus upon what matters. How important will today’s concerns be in 100 years? Maybe our dreams and expectations are beyond our reach. However, God has ensured we will receive what truly matters, a living hope and an indestructible inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4). Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 1:14 reminds us that to live for earthly based goals involves the futility of chasing after the wind.
• Praise God. If we belong to Christ, we have reasons to praise God (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 2:9-10). It is good for praise to precede petition.
• Depend upon God. God’s power is supreme. While evil may try to destroy us and cause us to rail against God, whatever God does is for our good. Cast your cares upon him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Pray for God’s will to be done (Matthew 6:10).
• Live one day at a time. Jesus taught us to ask God to provide what we need today (Matthew 6:11). Furthermore, he instructed us to not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).
• Pursue our God-given purpose. When God made us alive with Christ he gave us, as his workmanship, a purpose to fulfill in doing good (Ephesians 2:10). We are to love others as we love ourselves, shun evil, maintain the unity God creates and in general promote God’s will, thus living worthily of our calling (Ephesians 4:1).
• Acknowledge our humanity. While eating well, driving defensively and making wise financial plans can assist in avoiding problems, we can’t control our circumstances. We are created, not the Creator. Accidents, disease, economic ruin, etc., can come from outside of our sphere of influence.
• Re-frame our trials. Who in their right mind wants to suffer? Yet God can even use trials and suffering to achieve his good purposes. Through Jesus’ suffering, God worked to bring us back to himself (1 Peter 3:23-25). Through our trials, God can rescue us from the dangerous living of spiritual complacency in order that we might become spiritually mature (James 1:2-3). While we may not like hardships, we can view them as blessing our lives with growth training opportunities (Hebrews 12:7-11).