About 1:00 that afternoon those helpful people brought Silas back to the hospital, where we sat in the room with Brooke and Nathan, new baby Judah lying in a special bed under a warming light. It took far longer than it should have to get that baby’s body temperature to an appropriate number.
Silas, still a bit confused, and very tired, ran straight to his parents. Nathan lifted him into his arms and carried him over to the little bed. He looked down at his four hour old, wrinkly red baby brother, his tiny head still misshapen from his passage into the world, and said, “What’s that?”
I couldn’t help it. A bubble of laughter escaped me at his innocent honesty. When we told him this was his little brother Judah, the one who had been in Mommy’s tummy, his little head swung back and forth between his mommy and the figure in the clear, plastic bed, his eyes full of skepticism. This was not what he expected.
It took a couple of weeks for him to really come around, but who could blame him? He was expecting a brother like the brothers and sisters his little friends had, and probably just as big. He was expecting a playmate, but every time he shared his toys, the little interloper simply lay there and slept. Where is the fun in that? But children are nothing if not adaptable, and his little brother is growing on him.
I fear some people look on their lives as Christians with the same skepticism with which Silas first viewed Judah. Freedom, they were promised, but all they see are rules. Joy, they were promised, yet they still suffer the same trials, illnesses, and financial problems as everyone else, even the same ones as before they were converted. They’ve lost friends, and rifts in the family are worse than ever. They expected people to come running at their every beck and call, yet every Sunday the preacher, an elder, a Bible class teacher—or maybe all three!!—tells them they have to serve others.
Jesus dealt with the same problem among his followers. Some came expecting to be entertained (Luke 7:32; 23:8). Some came expecting to be fed (John 6:26). Some came expecting to be part of a victorious army and a glorious kingdom here on the earth (Luke 19:11). Very few “came around,” changing their expectations to match his offered reality. He never changed his offer—if they wouldn’t accept it, he simply sent them away. He drove off far more than ever accepted him (John 6:43-67).
Sometimes we have to do the same. We cannot change the church the Lord bought with His own blood to suit the carnal nature of an unspiritual world—we don’t have that right. Be careful what you offer your friends and neighbors. God didn’t promise lives of ease, health and wealth, or even a church family that always behaves itself. The test of faith comes when things are difficult, not when they are easy.
The church wasn’t what the Jews expected. As a result most of them missed out on the promised kingdom. Examine your own expectations. Make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:17-18