Avengers: Endgame steamrolled into theaters last weekend, shattering box office records. One news announcer called it “a cultural community event” – which is a fancy way to say a WHOLE LOT of people were united in their desire to experience this final chapter of the Infinity Stones saga. In the theater I was in opening night, we didn’t just watch the movie. We laughed, gasped, cheered, and cried together. It really was a community event.
However, not everyone was happy with the movie. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook were full of people voicing their disappointment, or even outrage, at certain aspects of the movie. Some didn’t like the science (as if time travel really has any science behind it). Some didn’t like the character development. Some people even complained about the amount of effort Marvel put into keeping the story secret until the movie opened. Even the actors in the movie didn’t know the whole story line until they went to the movie premiere. Each actor was only given enough of the script to do their scenes. The rest remained a mystery.
I have to admit I went to the movie with certain expectations about the story, but about a half-hour into the three-hour movie, I turned to my daughter and said, “I didn’t see that coming.” For the remainder of the movie, I threw out my expectations and watched eagerly to see how it would all turn out. Personally, I thought it wasn’t a great movie, but it was a really good one.
Expectations can be tricky. If you believe something is going to turn out a certain way and it doesn’t, you will probably be bummed. On the other hand, going through life with no surprises would be pretty dull. Not knowing what’s coming can be exciting, but it can also be anxiety-inducing, which is why most of us try to keep surprises in our lives to a minimum. Unfortunately, that can also mean never taking risks, never going outside our comfort zones, and never trying anything new. It’s safer that way—but also boring. And it limits our opportunities to be used by God for his purposes in this world.
Just think of all the characters in the Bible who were pulled outside their comfort zones and asked to live their lives opposed to all their expectations. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Gideon. Esther. Ruth. David. Mary. And every one of Jesus’ disciples. They didn’t get what they expected from life—and we should be thankful for that!
Sometimes we don’t get what we expect from life (or from movies). But how we respond to life’s surprises can show us the most important thing about our lives. As Christians, we are called to live a life of faith—trusting God no matter what comes our way. I’ve learned from personal experience that I can’t trust God to give me everything I want. And I can’t trust him to give me everything I expect or hope for. But I can trust him to give me everything I need to do what he has called me to do.
Sometimes, I may have to throw out my expectations about what I think God is doing in my life and in my world. I have to sit back and watch the story unfold. But I’m one of the characters in God’s master story—just like all those Bible characters I mentioned above. You are one, too. So when we see a chance to jump into the action, we need to do it. Even if we can’t be sure what to expect from it. We have to trust that the Author of the story will do what he has promised and work it all out for good in the end.
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Stories are a metaphor for life. That's a deep way of saying we can learn life lessons from stories we read or watch on stage or on big or small screens. When viewed through a Christian worldview, even secular films and books can tell us something about our Christian walk. Here you will find a collection of blog posts with lessons I have learned from stories. I hope you enjoy them!