It’s not supposed to be this way...
I chose to revisit one of my favorite books yesterday. (Love Lysa’s story!) And my whole heart resonates with her words - Yes! It is NOT supposed to be this way!
In the world we once knew, today was supposed to be the first day of school. A new year at new schools, filled with new friends and new possibilities. Instead, what we are staring at looks stale and disappointing. Like boring left-overs when we wanted to try that new, popular restaurant.
Virtual schooling at home was what we were thrust into towards the end of last school year. And none of us were eager for its return. Yet here we are. Again.
It isn’t supposed to be this way.
When I zoom out and look at the larger picture of my life, I can see many other arenas where things are not as they should be. If you’d have asked me three years ago if I’d be living where I’d live, doing what I’d do, I would have said “absolutely not”. If you’d have asked my kids what they’d be doing and where they’d be going to school, they never would’ve responded with the current reality they’re facing. Did I ever think my marriage would’ve taken the course it’s on? Never. Ever. Not in 100 years.
Some of the things that are a part of my life I didn’t ask for and don’t want. Things I once treasured have been stolen from my life. Other things have fallen away as a matter or second and third order effects - like dominos near the end of the line-up. Still others are transitional phases that have fallen out of necessity and usefulness. But I miss them greatly nonetheless.
We all feel the tension of and face the reality that life isn’t supposed to be this way. In the hardness of getting things we didn’t ask for and the disappointment of not getting things we did want, we can face emotions as varied as a well-stocked charcuterie board (though not nearly as delicious). Angry. Sad. Stuck. Numb. Hopeless. Weary.
Today I found encouragement from the Bible for this very moment - the moment where what should be meets what isn’t. This encouraging reminder shines - like a light piercing still and stale darkness. You may know this darkness, as I do, as a place where we can find ourselves sitting in silence, sulking, and stewing, shouting, “God, where are you?!” Like a beacon from the book of Hebrews, its author speaks to us of Jesus:
“‘…you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.’
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 10:7-9
Did you notice that nod to our disappointments in this passage? Verse eight acknowledges our awareness of “it’s not supposed to be that way” when it says:
“At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.”
Amen, right? When I look around the world (even my own life!) it does NOT seem to be in subjection to anything, much less to Jesus. But what I love about this passage is that surrounding this verse which validates our displeasures is a balloon of hope that we can latch onto and which will buoy us in the seas of disappointment.
Our hope is found in the truth that Jesus has been crowned by God with glory and honor. Another place in Hebrews tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God - a position of royalty and power. He is the actively reigning King and everything has been made subject to him by the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. Quite plainly, this passage from chapter 10 states that nothing has been left outside his control. So the chaos, the disappointments, the unfairness that we see now? It is not happening outside of the sovereignty and awareness of our Lord and Savior.
So, if crazy, chaotic, sad-making, anger-inducing things are happening around us and to us, we can rest assured that Jesus knows. He sees. And He is still in control. We may not see his rule and authority at work, but by faith we must believe that He IS, in fact, in power.
But why? Why, then, are we faced with so many disheartening realities that we don’t want and finding what we do want to be so often elusive? I don’t have the answer to every ‘why’ and for every case. But in light of these verses from Hebrews I can glean a little bit of understanding. Namely, that this season of suffering has a time limit (“at present” and “for a little while”) and a purpose (“so that…”).
The gospel tells me that through Jesus’ willingness to suffer on my behalf and “taste death” the wrath of God was repealed and the grace of God was revealed. His death and resurrection from the same proves that He has the power to overcome death and the finality of the grave. It is that same dynamic power through which he maintains sovereign control over all things by subjection. “He upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3
I can stand waist deep in today’s disappointments and know that a day is coming where all things will be and appear to be in subjection to the Lordship of Jesus. The day Revelation reveals to us where He makes all things new and makes all the wrong things right has already been penned into the story God has written for us. It is as sure as tomorrow’s sunrise. Though we do not see it yet, it is coming.
So I can take courage and comfort and heart today - knowing that though it’s not supposed to be this way, it is supposed to be - and is and will be - His way.