Have you ever had a situation when you thought something was going to be so awesome and exciting, and then it turns out to be kinda bland or plain? Well, I have anticlimactic occurrences all the time. One example is EVERY SINGLE TIME I’ve gone to the Zoo. I’m not over-exaggerating. Every time I get ready to go to the zoo, I feel this bursting excitement within me. My thoughts are, Yes! I get to spend the day enjoying the nice weather, not spending a whole lot of money, looking at all the beautiful animals engage with each other, and even seeing cool tricks from a few of them! This is going to be amazing!
What really ends up happening is I get there and see that the zoo entry fee has gone up several bucks. That’s annoying, but it doesn’t quench my flame. I get to the first two animals and do my “oo’s and ahh’s”. The third animal is asleep. The fourth animal is hiding. The fifth animal won’t be doing a show until 4:45pm and it’s 2:30pm. The sixth animal is asleep too. On and on I walk around for what seems like hours to see animals that are asleep or unavailable. I then realize, Whew! It’s HOT! I look around and see a concession stand. The man behind it yells “ICE COLD WATER!” I head over there with $5 in hand, because you know these things are expensive at the zoo… The man says “That’ll be $8.95”. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME. I make the decision to go thirsty for the rest of the zoo trip.
The heat begins to get to me and there’s one sliver of shade next to the bathroom right beside the garbage can. I’m desperate, so I endure the smell for a few minutes just for some relief. Myself and whomever I’m with decides at this point it’s best we go home. We look at the map to find the exit, and realize we’re at the very back of the zoo, and to get out, we need to walk all the way back to the front. By this time, I’m pooped and I don’t want to take another step. I’m eyeing the old lady’s Hoveround and wondering if she’ll be willing to give me a ride as she swiftly passes by.
By the time I reach the front, I’m burnt to a little less than a crisp, my feet hurt, I’m tired, I’m thirsty, and I’m very disappointed. I’m not sure why I keep going back to the zoo, but my point is that my zoo experience is truly anticlimactic. I expect a lovely time, and leave disappointed.
Do you or people you know feel that way about Christianity?
Do you expect that circumstances will change, that all the bad things that have been happening will come to an end, that all unfortunate life events will cease; Then after you’ve been going to your church for a while or doing a few studies, you realize your circumstances have not only NOT gotten better, but they may have even gotten worse?
Anticlimactic? Disappointing? Well, here’s some encouragement.
John 16:33 is my favorite verse, because it looks at the reality of the world, and also the promise and hope of victory in Jesus.“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
First, Jesus speaks directly to the disciples, who we become when we accept God’s calling for our lives. He shares that his motive for telling them their future hardships in the world, is so they will have peace. (For further context, see John 13:1- John 16:33) Jesus told the disciples that they will indeed have it rough; that the world will actually hate them, and you for that matter. He says in John 15:18 & 19 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” When He says “the world”, He doesn’t mean the individual people in the world, but rather the world’s values, ideas, virtues, and principles, which is brought to you by Satan, himself. Let me tell you, if your circumstances were hard before, Satan will work as hard as he can to discourage and destroy you.
Sounds kinda scary, but Jesus offers peace.
He acknowledges the hard times, but tells the disciples, not to be afraid and take courage, because He has overcome the world.
Do you get that?! I had to look up the word “overcome” just to make sure I was reading that correctly. Overcome means to succeed in dealing with… to defeat…. to prevail against… to overpower… to overwhelm! So Jesus meant that HE has succeeded in dealing with the world! HE has defeated the world! HE has prevailed against the world! HE has overpowered the world! HE had overwhelmed the world! And HE is on your side! (drops the mic)
(Picks up the mic) Wow. So that means that even though circumstances will be hard, you don’t have to be overcome by them. You don’t have to worry or fret. You don’t have to lie, cheat, or steal to get what you need. You have to ability to be calm, peaceful, and still overcome.
Jesus doesn’t promise to make our lives here easy as pie. He also doesn’t expect us to be delusional and blind to the hardships in our lives or others, and see “the bright side”. Sometimes, situations are just jacked up. Sometimes there is no bright side. Sometimes Satan comes in and tears stuff up. But Jesus does promise this: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3
And this: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18
And now for your purpose: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for you and with you vs. the world that THEY created, yet decided to turn away from them??? I hope that realization brings you peace, because it does for me. It changes my perspective from expecting a situational change, to expecting God’s peace to grow in me even in the midst of hard times; peace in knowing that even though things are tough now, God has a place for me in His house; peace in knowing that when I’m taking my last breath on earth, the next thing I will see is Jesus coming in the clouds for ME; peace in knowing that I’m on the CreatOR’s side and the enemy who was creatED can’t stand a chance against Him; peace in knowing that what ever hardship Satan throws my way, All of heaven, including myself, has already defeated him. I have peace in knowing that the enemy is hoping for me to fail, but in Jesus’ holy name, Satan will be very very disappointed.
Being a follower of Christ doesn’t have to be anticlimactic if the foundation of your expectations are found in God’s word. I hope this brought you encouragement. Have you or someone you know ever felt like following God was disappointing because it’s not what you or they thought it would be? Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment below! <3