It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wonder how Clark Griswold would celebrate? You know Clark – he’s Chevy Chase’s character in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He’s the guy who desires to fulfill every tradition perfectly and exceed every expectation to make Christmas more magical than anyone can imagine.
I’m sure Clark would have high hopes for a fantastic Valentine’s Day. In his daydreams it is probably a day filled with candy for his children, flowers for his mother and mother-in-law, a romantic dinner with his wife, and lots of love for his extended family.
Because Clark’s expectations always tend to outshine his reality, he faces a lot of disappointment. Watching Clark’s reality fall short of his expectations is what makes the “Vacation” movies so fun to watch. We enjoy watching him handle each disappointment – one after another.
Of course, we don’t like to be disappointed. Our disappointments are rarely funny; they are more often disheartening. We have high hopes and when those hopes are not met, we are disappointed.
What are your expectations for Valentine’s Day? Some of you are expecting a great day: maybe it’s your first Valentine’s Day with your new spouse, maybe you’re getting married on Valentine’s Day, or maybe you have a loving wife/husband who will see to it that you feel loved and appreciated on February 14 just as he/she does all year.
For some of you, Valentine’s Day is a day of disappointment; your life circumstances are nowhere near what you had expected or hoped they’d be at this stage of your life.
Maybe you never expected to be single into your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s. Maybe you didn’t expect to be divorced. Maybe you didn’t expect your husband/wife to die so soon. Maybe you didn’t expect to break up with your boy/girlfriend. Maybe you didn’t expect to be a single mom. Maybe you didn’t expect that a dinner out, a bouquet of flowers or a box of candy would not fit in your budget. Maybe you didn’t expect life to be this hard.
Perhaps the antidote to disappointment is to recognize that God is wiser than we are, knows the future, knows our hearts, and knows what is best for us today. Perhaps the way to avoid disappointment is to choose to accept what God has given, rather than fight, whine, beg, cajole, or try to bargain for what He has not.
What is best for each one of us, and the ultimate goal to which God is moving us, is to be made into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. God alone knows the best path to get us there. Therefore, every circumstance of our lives filters through the loving hands of our Father in heaven to move us toward that end.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… to be conformed to the image of his Son.” – Romans 8:28-29 NIV
God says, “In all things” – this includes the things that disappoint you – in all things he is at work. Perhaps God didn’t give or allow the things you wanted, the situations you desired, or the circumstances you hoped for – but in his wisdom, he has allowed your life to be what it is now. You can trust that God knows what he is doing.
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?” – Romans 11:33-35 NLT
What are the things that disappoint you as the calendar approaches Valentine’s Day? Will they disappoint you on February 13? Will they disappoint you on February 15? Are you disappointed because, like Clark Griswold, you have unrealistic expectations? Or are you disappointed because you think you know better than God what is best for you?
Will you surrender your expectations and your realities to the only wise God and rest in the knowledge that he knows what he is doing… and it is good?
To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. – Romans 16:27 NIV