Blue Jeans and Storybook Expectations
By Jonathan C. Brentner
When I was high school (1967-1971), the dress code at my school prohibited blue jeans. While I didn’t really mind that much at the time, I know that many of my classmates longed for greater freedom in what they could wear to class.
A couple years after graduation, I returned to the school to visit my former band director. By then the dress code had changed and every student I saw at the school was wearing blue jeans. It was almost as if the written code had been replaced with an unwritten one that necessitated jeans.
Isn’t this a lot like our expectations when we are young? We long for greater freedom only to find that it does not really exist. As a student in high school and later as a young adult, I remember being quite naïve about what life might have in store. I learned the hard way, to say the least.
During my years as a pastor, my storybook expectations of the future became like a glass vase falling on a hard floor and shattering into a thousand pieces. Much later, I learned that my hope needed to be in the Lord alone rather than in my dreams, hopes, goals, other people, or even my spouse.
The Lord brought me safely through my many failures, countless mistakes, and many years of afflictions to a place of amazing blessing beyond what I could ever have imagined. It’s Jesus who has restored my life and my hope for whatever lies ahead rests in Him alone.
As many of you know, Bold Vision Books published my book on biblical characters earlier this year. That in itself was amazing, but has also reinforced my need to trust the Lord with outcomes during the ups and deep valleys of the publishing world. I discovered that my storybook expectations of being a published author did not match reality (I am still waiting for my first royalty check). I am sensing anew the need to rest in the Lord for what He has in store for me and my writing.
The older I get, the more I treasure the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” These words might sound like a foolish and heavy burden to many around us in the world. However, to me they are foundational to my walk of faith with the Lord.
My favorite and most comfortable blue jeans today have a hole in them. It’s not that I trying to set a new fashion trend for men, the hole resulted from wear and tear. I didn’t know what I was missing back in high school.
I have also come to realize that my youthful and fanciful ideals for my future were never meant to be fulfilled in this life, but rather in eternity. There the joy, the total wholeness we will experience, and reunions with family members and friends will far, far exceed even our most whimsical expectations.
I like Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” I have found these words to be true in this life and know that in eternity we will scarcely be able to take in all that Jesus has in store for us as His followers.