When Jesus Doesn't Meet Your Expectations

The Palm Sunday Story Teaches Us To Expect The Unexpected From Jesus

Dan Franklin
Apr 10, 2022    38m
By examining the Palm Sunday story, we learn to expect the unexpected from Jesus. His entry into Jerusalem reminds us that while Jesus is rarely what we expect, He is always what we need. Knowing this, we should respond in humility to Him, pray with all we have, and trust that He knows more than we do about what we need. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:18] Back in 2003, I went to a theater to see a movie, the movie was called, Master and Commander. It starred Russell Crowe; it was about a British warship during the time of Napoleon. And I didn't like the movie, which was weird because I was like, this was a movie that had all the marks of something that I would like, it had Russell Crowe before he got really weird, and it seemed like it was going to be right up my alley. But I just walked away, and I was like, wow, that was kind of meandering and long, and there was only really one action sequence, and I was just pretty disappointed. A couple of years later, I decided to just sort of on a whim, like, I need to watch this again, like maybe I was the problem, I need to watch this again and see if I missed something. And I don't know if I've ever done as dramatic a movie turnaround as I did in my second viewing of this movie. I not only walked away from it saying I was wrong, this is not a bad movie. I was like, this movie is incredible, it became one of my favorite movies of all time. I was like, oh, this is so deep, and it has to do with leadership, and it has to do with character, and it has to do with order versus chaos, and courage, and all of these amazing themes, on the second viewing, I caught it, and I loved it. Which made me look back and say, why in the world did I miss all of this on the first viewing? And some of you probably already have a theory on why I missed it the first viewing. When I saw it the first time, it was not the movie I was expecting to see, I was expecting a swashbuckling action movie. It came out the same year Pirates of the Caribbean came out, I was kind of looking for that. I was looking for lots of action and fun, and I didn't get that at all. I missed a profound movie, and I missed a profound message because I went in with faulty expectations. And when something fails to meet our expectations, it throws us off, doesn't it?

Dan Franklin: [00:02:23] Let me just ask you a question, has Jesus failed to meet your expectations? I know you're probably not going to answer out loud, but it's okay to acknowledge if he has. There are probably some of you in here that when you became a Christian, you thought, all my prayers are going to be answered in exactly the way that I expect them to, and that's just not the way that it's gone and now you feel disappointed. Some of you might be in the midst of a battle with sin, you've prayed over and over again, God, just take this temptation away. And you hear stories about people that drank heavily and then became Christians, and then suddenly they never had a drop of alcohol and didn't even want it. And you're sort of like, God, I want that. I want that for my life, and you've been praying for it, but God hasn't done that for you, and He hasn't brought the healing in that way.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:15] Maybe some of you who are students, there have been different things that you've been praying for, and you've been praying for school to go a certain way, or college acceptance to go a certain way, or just for that guy or girl that you're interested in, you're like, can they be interested in me? And either you've dealt with the disappointment of they're just not interested, or you've dealt with the disappointment that they're interested for a little while, and then they became disinterested, and you've dealt with the disappointment of all of this.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:39] Maybe when you became a Christian, you thought that everybody around you would respect your faith, and that's not the way that it's turned out. Has anybody in here been disappointed by Jesus? You know when this happens, I think we can feel like, what's off about this? Is it me? Is it that I'm not obedient enough? Is it that I'm not good enough? Am I not doing things the right way? Or even more scary than that, we start to ask the question, was I just sold something bad? Was I told by all these people that Jesus would be worth it and that I'd be glad that I put my faith in him, and were they all wrong, or were they all off?

Dan Franklin: [00:04:19] Well, what I want to say is that if Jesus hasn't met your expectations, you're not the first, welcome to Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of what we sometimes call Holy Week, or just Easter week, where a week from right now, we'll all be back in this room, and we'll be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Five days from right now, we'll be back in this room, and we'll be able to celebrate together Good Friday, the best and worst thing that ever took place. The worst thing that humanity ever did in putting to death the Son of God, and the best thing that God ever did through it in bringing us forgiveness of sins.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:55] But today we start our trip through Holy Week with Palm Sunday. And once again, if you found that Jesus hasn't met your expectations, you're going to find that you're not the first. Because Palm Sunday is a story about Jesus entering into Jerusalem for his final Passover during his earthly life, and he does not do it in the way that people remotely expect him to do it. But the beauty of what we get to see in the story is not just that Jesus does something unexpected, but we get to be reminded of a powerful truth, and that's that Jesus is rarely what we expect, but he is always what we need.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:31] Some of you in here, even at the beginning of the service, you feel like you could amen that. Jesus is rarely what we expect, but he is always what we need. And we're going to walk through the story that we heard Linda read for us earlier in John Chapter 12. So if you have a Bible, or if you're using a Bible app, or just your Kindle on your phone, you can go ahead and get there to John chapter 12, we're going to go through verses 12 through 16. And just an easy way to remember how we're going to flow through this service, we're going to see three things. We're going to see the expectations of the crowd. We're going to see the actions, or the priorities, of the Lord. And then we're going to see the response of the disciples.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:10] And we start with the expectations of the crowd, verse 12, "The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem." And as I already mentioned, the festival that it's talking about is the Passover, and this is one of the big three for the Jewish people. Where all of the Jews, from all over the world, would gather together in Jerusalem, it was a huge deal. We don't know on this date exactly how many Jews would have gathered for this, but we do know about 30 years afterward there was a recording of the Passover in Jerusalem where there were nearly 3 million Jewish people who gathered for the festival, and that's not even including those who were there, but weren't able to participate for one reason or another, or of the Gentiles who were observing, in some way, the festival. So this was a massive crowd that was gathering, and you can see from verse 12 that there was a buzz. And the buzz in the crowd wasn't just that they were gathered for Passover, the buzz and the crowd surrounded the idea of Jesus being there.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:15] Now, if you have your Bible open and you were to turn back one page, you'd find John chapter 11, and in John chapter 11, Jesus does his greatest miracle to date when he raises Lazarus from the dead. So Jesus already had a following, he already had a lot of people who were interested in him, but after raising Lazarus from the dead, the buzz was at a peak, and everybody was wondering what exactly was going to happen when Jesus came in for this festival.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:42] Verse 13, tells us how they expected him to come in, it says, "They took palm branches and went out to meet him." Now, you all were expecting this, right? Palm Sunday, you knew this was coming, it's Palm Sunday, they got Palm branches. What's the deal with the palm branches? If you go back and read the Old Testament and read about the festival of the Passover, there's nothing in there about palm branches. But in the centuries and in the decades leading up to this, palm branches had come to be a national symbol. In fact, if you were to read the Books of the Maccabees, which are not in the Bible, but are sort of supplementary books that talk about something that happened between the Old Testament and the New Testament, you see palm branches starting to become a national symbol. So then when they were bringing out these palm branches, it was sort of a signal, it was a signal of Jewish nationalistic pride. It was a way of them signaling what they wanted to have happen.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:38] Does anybody in here read The Hunger Games books, or watch The Hunger Games movies? All right, a bunch of you, wow, it's ten years old now, it seems, I'm old, but that's just the aside, I'm like that seems more recent. If you're familiar with the stories, you know, that involves a revolution that was happening, and there was a symbol that started to become the symbol of anybody who was involved in the revolution. For those of you that know the story, what was the symbol? Yeah, the Mockingjay. And so if you saw somebody with a pin of the Mockingjay you knew, it was a signal to one another, we're in on the same thing, we're both hoping for revolution.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:11] These people coming out with palm branches and waving them along was a very similar concept, they're waving these palm branches hoping for a revolution, hoping for deliverance from their Roman oppressors. It was a sign of nationalistic zeal for the Jewish people to be waving these palm branches, and then they also chanted some different things, they chanted, Hosanna! And once again, everybody knew this, you all expected this, you may have even heard the kids singing it outside right before. Hosanna is a word that we're familiar with and that we sing, but maybe we don't always know what exactly we're singing. The loose translation of Hosanna is, give salvation now. Has anybody ever prayed that to God in some way? Like God, this is what I want, and I want it now, they're saying give salvation now.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:04] And again, when we hear the word salvation, a lot of times we think of that in spiritual terms, but that's not how they were thinking of it, they were thinking of it just in terms of deliverance. This was not the first time that the Jews had had a foreign power that was oppressing them, and they'd seen God deliver them before. Give salvation, give deliverance, now. And then they praise Jesus by saying, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.", a quote from Psalm 118. And then they follow it up by saying, "Blessed is the king of Israel." Now, you may know at this time, Israel had a king. Now, he was sort of in league with the Romans, they wanted Jesus to be a king who is going to set them up and deliver them from the Romans, and the crowd had a clear expectation.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:50] And here's the way that I want to bridge the gap between what happened here 2000 years ago and us today, we are not different from these Jewish people waving palm branches and shouting Hosanna! And here's the reason, when we think of Jesus, our expectation for him is that He is going to solve the problem that we believe is our most pressing problem, whether that's financial, whether that's physical, whether that's relational, we look at our lives and we believe we have an accurate view on what problems Jesus needs to solve, and we cry out to him to solve those problems. But here's what I want us just to look at for a second, is it possible that your expectations, your understanding of what your biggest problem in life is, isn't accurate?

Dan Franklin: [00:11:46] Now, here's the deal, if you're a parent, you know that it's possible for a human being to believe they know their biggest problem and not be correct. Some of you, even who are kids, you may look at yourself right now and you might feel like you're kind of impulsive. I guarantee you, you're not as impulsive as you were five years ago. When we are small children, we think we know what we need most, and it's that cookie and there's nothing else that matters, or it's watching that TV show, or watching an extra episode, or playing video games. We think we know exactly what we need, and as parents, you frequently recognize your kid's priorities are not totally reasonable. It's possible to be convinced that you know what you need but to have things all out of whack. And here's the question that I just want to kick out for you to consider, is it possible that just as there is a gap between a young child and a parent, there is a gap between you and the Almighty God of the universe? Are you willing to entertain the possibility? Are you willing to think about the idea that just as sometimes you have to look at a child and say, I know you want that, but you can't have it, that we are children before the Almighty God, and even when we're convinced we know what we need, God is looking at us lovingly as a father to children, saying, I know you think you need that, but you're going to have to adjust your expectations? When we're convinced that we know what we need, we set ourselves up for disappointment in Jesus. But let's just open ourselves up to the possibility that even though Jesus is frequently not what we expect, he is always what we need.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:36] We see the expectations of the crowd, now, let's look at the priorities of the Lord that we get in verses 14 and 15, "Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it." Now, if you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you get a little bit of a fuller extent of the story, John almost makes it sound like he just stumbled upon a donkey, that's not what happened. He sent his disciples out to get a donkey, and it even specifies that it was a young donkey. I don't know how impressive a donkey can be, but this was an unimpressive donkey, and he sat on the unimpressive donkey.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:12] Now, if you know a little bit of Jewish history, what might they have expected him to be riding in on? Yeah, a horse, a warhorse. Signaling, just as they were signaling with the palm branches. salvation is coming for the people of Israel. He comes riding in on a donkey, and John signals to us that this was actually in fulfillment of a prophecy. You get part of the prophecy here from Zechariah chapter 9 verse 9, I'll read the part of the prophecy, but then I want you to read the whole thing. The part that John quote says, “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”. Written 500 years before Jesus showed up. Now, here's the deal, I want you to listen, and I want to read the entire quote from Zechariah chapter 9 verses 9 through 10, because it gives us a little bit more of what's going on with this prophecy. It says, "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." And now listen to verse 10, "I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war horses from Jerusalem.". Do you know why is not riding a war horse? He's coming to take the warhorses away, "And the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth." There are two key words that should come up for us when we think about this prophecy and what Jesus is doing here. The first word is humility, because he comes lowly on a lowly animal. And the second is peace, because he comes not to make war, but to ultimately bring peace. Jesus shatters the expectations of the people who are coming.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:09] And again, it's hard for us because we're used to Palm Sunday, we're used to the donkey idea, it's hard for us to get just how shocking this was. But imagine there was a four-star general going to visit the troops, and they had prepared an amazing, strong Hummer that they were going to ride him in on to go and visit the troops and encourage them, and he looked at the Hummer and he said, you know what, I'm just going to go in on a Segway. It would not seem right; it would be shocking. What in the world are you doing? Jesus shocks the crowds by coming in on a donkey and blowing away their expectations, which once again tells us something about Jesus. If our expectations are sometimes off, then that means that to deal with our real problems, Jesus sometimes has to redirect our attention.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:59] Now, let me just give a couple examples. In fact, we get some examples of powerful times that Jesus did exactly this, that he redirected our attention. We're in John 12, just to make it easy to remember, I'm going to quote Luke 12 and Second Corinthians 12, we're just going to stay with 12 today. So if you want to lock that away and look these up later, you can, but let me quote them for you. Luke 12, this is one of my favorite sort of underrated Jesus stories. Luke 12, starting in verse 13, it says, “Someone in the crowd said to him, Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”. Now, by the way, I think that this is one of the funniest things that Jesus ever said. I don't know if you're picking up on it. This guy comes to Jesus and says, me and my brother are having a dispute over the inheritance, Jesus, we want you to solve it. And Jesus says, Who made me your judge? And I want to be like your Father, God, they came to the right guy, they came to the right judge. And Jesus basically tells them, I have no interest at all in solving your inheritance problems. And then look at what he says in verse 15, it says, "Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” The man comes to Jesus, and he says, I have an inheritance problem. And Jesus says, I don't care, I want to deal with your greed problem.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:33] Quick show of hands, who in here feels like you would have less problems if you had more money? You guys are like, we're in church, I'm not going to do it. You know that you believe this, we all believe this at some level. If I just had more money, I'd be able to hire some household staff and we wouldn't be always overwhelmed, we'd be able to fix stuff that's broken in our home, we'd be able to go on better vacations, we wouldn't be stressed out all the time. Most of us believe, at least at some level, our biggest problem revolves around money, and so we pray for deliverance from our difficult financial situations. And Jesus frequently says to us, I'm very disinterested in that, very interested in freeing you of greed.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:19] Let's give another example, let's give one that surrounds health. This is Second Corinthians chapter 12 verses 8 and 9, this is the Apostle Paul speaking, and he says, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me." We're walking into the middle, but some of you know what we're talking about, what did he ask three times for Jesus to take away from him? A thorn in the flesh that he talks about in Second Corinthians 12, we don't know what it was, it almost certainly was physical and with some kind of physical ailment. He cries out to Jesus three times, saying, take this away from me. And in verse 9, Jesus says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There are some of you in here this morning that you feel like a physical problem is your biggest problem, and you've been crying out to God for deliverance from your physical problem, from your health problem. And we all know, Jesus, sometimes shows his power by delivering us from our physical diseases and sicknesses and injuries, he shows off his power. Jesus did that during his earthly life, but here, a post-resurrection Jesus, is talking to the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Paul says, I have a great idea, my idea is that you make me not have this physical ailment and then I'll be a way better apostle. And Jesus says, do you know what'll make you a way better apostle, and a way better man? If you're broken of your self-sufficiency, and you know that you desperately need me. Some of you are in situations.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:54] Again, I mentioned it before, where you're in a battle with sin that you just wish Jesus would take away. And you can't figure out why he won't, you're like, I want to be obedient, I want to stop sinning in this way. So if you just took the temptation away, that clearly seems like the way to go, and you're baffled at the idea that you're still in the trenches just dealing, working, and grinding away and trying to experience victory over this. I'm not going to pretend I know every reason why Jesus does everything, but I think it's very possible that the reason Jesus doesn't often just take those things away is because he wants us to learn to walk with him in the difficulty. If you just had that taken away, you might go on the speaking circuit, you might be telling your success story all over the place about how you overcame this thing that was ailing you, and instead, Jesus is going to walk you step by step through victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:45] And let me throw something else in there, sometimes Jesus not answering those prayers in the way that we want it answered isn't even primarily for us, but for other people. Some of you, at different times, I've told kind of different parts of the story about my parents, you know, my dad when I was nine years old, my dad became paralyzed from the neck down. It was sudden, nobody knows what happened, but he's been in a wheelchair ever since, he still is alive today. But I remember one time, years after all of this, hearing my mom and dad talk about some of the things that happened in the aftermath of this, of his paralysis and him being in a wheelchair. And I'm just going to give you a softball question right here, nine-year-old Dan, when his dad was paralyzed from the neck down, what do you think that nine-year-old Dan was praying for God to do? Heal him. And I couldn't understand why would there be any better end than this, how could there be any better outcome than my dad suddenly getting up and walking around? God did not heal my dad, God preserved my dad's life, which I'm deeply, deeply grateful for, God didn't heal my dad in the way that I was praying for. And one of the things that my parents said years later because my dad was one of the elders at the church where I grew up, and often at the end of the service, much like we do, where we have elders and pastors come up to pray with people, my mom, and my dad would go up front to pray with people, and they always said the biggest line was people wanting to talk to them, even though there were several elders and wives up there. And the reason there was the biggest line to talk to them, was because people looked at them and they knew from the physical ailment, they've been through it and they still think Jesus is worth it. Maybe you not getting the answered prayer that you want, is not even primarily about you, but it's about somebody else's faith being bolstered. Sometimes to get our attention on the real problem, Jesus has to redirect our attention.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:44] And one more element of this before moving on to the response in verse 16, I mentioned the word peace. And here's a deal, Jesus could have come on riding a warhorse, but he doesn't, he comes riding a donkey, because he's come to bring peace. He's come to bring peace because that is our deepest need and it resolves our deepest problem. If Jesus came riding in on a warhorse, like many of us had wanted him to, do you know who Jesus would be coming after? He'd be coming after you, he'd be coming for all of us in our sin and our guilt and our selfishness. We want Jesus on a warhorse. Do you? Because if you did, you'd be on the wrong side of that warhorse, every single one of us would be. Jesus came to bring peace and thank God that He came to bring peace because Jesus came in riding on a donkey, and then He traded a humble donkey for a crown of thorns, and then he traded the crown of thorns for a cross, and he died on a cross for all of our sins and all of our guilt and all of our shame. Jesus came to bring peace between you and God. We want Him to deal with our immediate felt needs, and he comes to deal with our deepest needs. Jesus is rarely what we expect, but He's always what we need.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:08] And by the way, one more thing on this, he not only came to bring peace between us and God, he came to bring peace between one another. The Jews wanted the Romans out, and the Jews back in charge. And what Jesus wanted was for Romans to have peace with God, and Jews to have peace with God, and them to have peace with one another.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:30] Right now, I'm not going to ask for a show of hands, but right now, some of you are praying for the downfall of other people who you consider to be your enemies or your obstacles. God's deepest desire is not for their downfall and you to be ascended up, God's deepest desire is that you would be linking arms and brotherhood and sisterhood at peace with God. Jesus is rarely what we expect, but he is always what we need, but we don't always see it at the time, so let's look at the response of the disciples.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:00] And I love this, if you ever feel like you don't get Jesus or you don't understand what's going on, we get a verse like this that gives us some comfort and encouragement, "At first his disciples did not understand all this." So we get that the crowds didn't understand all this, they're waving the palm branches. His disciples aren't waving palm branches, but they're not looking at this saying, we get what's going on. They're confused, the best word to describe their state is confusion. They don't understand why Jesus is doing it, they haven't put two and two together, and they're not remembering the Zachariah prophecy. They're not understanding what's happening, they're confused. And then it goes on to say, "Only after Jesus was glorified..." In other words, raised from the dead, "Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him." So only after Jesus' death, which crushed them, his resurrection, which surprised them, and his glorification that overjoyed them, that they suddenly understood this concept, that suffering comes and then glory comes. And they suddenly understood that out of the worst thing that ever happened, God brought up the greater good. And if God can bring the greatest good out of the worst thing that ever happens, then maybe you can trust him in the midst of the confusion when you're not sure exactly what he's doing.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:22] In other words, I love this, here's what this verse tells us, this verse tells us they started with confusion, but they ended with conviction. They started saying, God, we don't get what you're doing, and they ended by saying, we will trust God always because even when we don't know what he's doing, he's always doing what's best for us. They moved from confusion to conviction.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:49] There's a verse in Second Corinthians that I want to read for you that just talks about how this concept applies not just to Jesus, but to us. It's Second Corinthians chapter 4 verse 7, it says, "But we have this treasure..." And the treasure Paul is talking about is the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." There are churches and there are preachers out there that say that the way that God wants to show His glory to the world is by you having all the money you could handle, and you having all the help that you can handle, and having no problems in your life, and then everybody will know you're a child of the king and they'll want to be a child of the king also. Some people call it the health and wealth gospel, I don't even like using the word gospel with it because gospel means good news, that is not good news, and it is not biblical. Some people call it prosperity theology, the idea that God is going to show off His glory through Christians who are doing so well in the world that everybody wants in on it. And Paul says no, he shows off the gospel through jars of clay, through clay pots, so that everybody will look at them and say they are not impressive, there must be an impressive God behind all of this.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:11] Are you in the confusion right now in some area of your life? Where you're like, I've been praying, and I've been praying for stuff that makes sense to me, and I've been praying for stuff that seems good, and I'm confused, and I don't know what God is doing. What does it look like to be in the middle of confusion, and by faith, hang on to conviction?

Dan Franklin: [00:29:33] Let me just share a story for you, on how I got to experience going from one to the other. When Karina and I were first married, I was a youth pastor, and some of you who are students are like you? Yeah, I was for a couple of years, I was a youth pastor, and our time at the church that we were at didn't end well. It wasn't disastrous, but it wasn't great, and there was some hurt and we felt mistreated in some ways on our way out, and it was really painful, at the time it was really painful, it was difficult. And as I look back on it, even now, I'm like, I understand what happened, nobody was trying to do anything deeply, deeply horrible, but we were mistreated in some ways. And at the time, all I was looking for was just an apology, just for somebody to say, hey, we messed up, we messed up here. We thought you were doing this, we realize we mistreated you, and we're sorry. That's all I was looking for, and the problem was, I kept expecting it to happen, I kept expecting the apology. I was like, maybe today is the day that I get that phone call, or that person stops by our apartment and is like, hey, we messed up. I kept waiting for it, and it just wasn't happening. They may have been expecting an apology from me, I'm not sure, but we were way off, what I was hoping for was just not happening. And I kept thinking, why in the world would God not just bring this vindication, this relief of somebody coming and saying, hey, we messed up, we're very sorry. It didn't come any time in the coming months, it didn't come any time in the coming years. About three, four, maybe even five years later, we were living in a totally different place, and I got a phone call, and the phone call was from one of the elders of this church where I had been a youth pastor, I don't even know how he had figured out how to find me. And he called and he said, I've been thinking back to how things ended when you were here, and I just feel like I really need to apologize to you. We handled this wrong, we mistreated you, I'm very, very sorry. Can you forgive me? And we had this nice little conversation, it probably lasted 5 to 7 minutes, and then it was done.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:39] Now, here's where the story gets weird. Where the story gets weird is that after that conversation where I finally got the apology, do you know how I felt? I didn't really care. And I was like, how in the world do I not care? There was a time in my life when this was all I wanted, and I got the apology and I was like, well, that was nice and I just moved on with my day. God apparently had been at work doing something during those three, four, or five years, that made me need the apology a lot less. I was standing at a point, saying, God, I need vindication. And God was saying, no, you need freedom from bitterness. And if I give you the apology now, you'll never deal with it. Jesus is rarely what we expect, but is Jesus always what we need? He is always what we need.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:38] And so here's what I want to encourage you with, as we take this in. Number one is this, if you're at a time of confusion, open yourself up right now to the idea that your assessment of what you need most from Jesus is not accurate. It doesn't mean you're going to figure out exactly what it is, but right now you're convinced and you're saying, I know what I need from Jesus and it's physical healing, or I know what I need from Jesus and it's a better job, or I know what I need from Jesus and it's for this person to like me. You can pray those things, but just be open to the idea that you don't actually know exactly what you need. If there is a gap between us and our children, there is a vastly bigger gap between us and the God who made us. So we can respond with humility, praying with all that we have, trusting that God knows more than we do.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:29] By the way, one of my favorite verses in the Bible is in Romans chapter 8 verses 26 and 27. A quick question, does anybody feel like you're not very good at praying? Yeah. If you feel like you're not very good at praying, you're right. Romans 8 verses 26 and 27 says, "We don't know how to pray, how we ought." So that means if you didn't raise your hand and you're like, no, I'm good at it, you're wrong, you're bad at it. We're all bad at praying is what Romans 8 says, we're all bad at praying, but we have the Holy Spirit. And you know what the Holy Spirit does? The Holy Spirit...Wow, you guys are on it, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. And here's what this means, this is the loose translation. What this means is as we go to God and we say, God, I need vindication. And the Holy Spirit says, what he means to say is that he needs you to eradicate the bitterness from his life. And the Father says, I'm on it. That means, and again, right now, what that means is that we can pray with humility, and what you think you need, you can pray for it, you can pray for it boldly, you can pray for it confidently, but you can also pray knowing that there's a pretty good chance the Holy Spirit is saying what she means is this, what he means is this. We get to continue to pray with confidence, but we also pray with the humility of recognizing that I don't know what I truly need, and I'm going to trust him to give me what I really need.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:59] Number one, just open yourself up to that. Number two is this, lean into wherever God has you. Right now you're like, God, I need this promotion so that I can get out from under this difficult boss. And God is not answering that prayer right now, he wants you to lean into that and learn how to persevere under that difficult boss, under that difficult teacher, under those difficult circumstances. Don't just look at your watch and try to wait out the clock, lean into what God is doing right now. Because, by the way, if you don't learn the lesson that He's trying to teach you right now, do you know what he's going to have to do? He's going to have to do it again. Just out of self-preservation, it's better to lean in now and open yourself up to the idea that you don't know what you really need. Lean into what you're dealing with now, and in the meantime, walk with conviction as you still deal with the confusion. You don't know what exactly Jesus is doing and what exactly Jesus is going to do. But you know what you do know? You do know Jesus, you do know that he came riding in on a donkey to make peace, you do know that he took our pain and our shame and our guilt and our sin. If he did all that, you know that you can trust him to look out for what you really need. So even in the confusion, walk with conviction, not the conviction that you know exactly what Jesus is going to do, but with the conviction that you know Jesus and you know you can trust him.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:26] Let me pray for us. Father, thank you so much for this story. We just confess we need the story; we need to be reminded that we're not the first people to be disappointed, or be confused, or to have our expectations not met by you. Thank you that you don't just do what we ask, thank you for being wise enough to see us as children and to lead us. Father, I pray for any person that's in here who is just really in the trenches of dealing with confusion and dealing with difficulty and dealing with frustration over you not doing what they're asking for. Father, I pray that you lead them to walk with the conviction of your goodness, while they still muddle through the confusion of what's going on around them. Father, I pray that you make us people who will persevere, we pray that your light will be shining through broken jars of clay as we look to trust you and walk with you. And then when people look at us, they'll know that it must be all about your glory and not our glory. We pray this in the name of our great savior, Jesus. Amen. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:36] Let me just ask you to stand as I say a final word, and then you can see that there are already some elders and pastors and prayer team members who are gathering on the different sides of the stage for us. Let me just read a brief word of benediction as we get ready to go. Second Corinthians chapter 13 verse 14 says this, "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Amen? Amen. God bless you this week.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848