Several years ago, my wife and I had the pleasure to visit France. One of the highlights was a visit to the Louvre, capped with the obligatory viewing of the famous Mona Lisa. Who has not heard of the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci? Prior to the trip, I had read numerous articles hypothesizing who the subject of the painting was, the reasons behind her enigmatic smile, and the lore of its different owners from Italy to France. What were her secrets?
Nearly 10 million visit the Louvre every year and the museum estimates that 80% come only to see the Mona Lisa. I can certainly be added to the list. Although my wife and I did browse many of the other art pieces, we both knew why we were there, along with about a thousand other visitors that day. After waiting in line for 45 minutes, we entered the museum and made a beeline to the painting, following the conspicuous signposts. Predictably, the room was packed and uncomfortably humid. Another 20 minutes passed as we slowly inched closer until we were positioned in front of the masterpiece. There, encased a bullet proof case, the piece de resistance of the Louvre!
It only took a few seconds to realize that she was, indeed, harboring a secret. In spite of everything I read, nowhere did it disclose the size of the painting. Measuring 2 feet 6 inches by 1 foot 9 inches, the familiar visage was hardly an impressive sight. Displaced behind the case, it was further diminished. Thousands of miles of travel and an hour long wait; her unmistakable smile was a smirk, at my expense! Miffed by the anticlimactic experience, I muttered to my wife, “It was better in the photograph!”
My irreverent attitude was unjustified. After years of anticipation, I had projected my inflated expectations unto this experience. Arrogantly, I did not take the time to reflect upon the grandeur and historical significance of the moment nor was I willing to overlook my disappointment. I was seeking my own version of the Mona Lisa rather than seeking the truth.
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2-3 (ESV)
For years, I projected my warped and misguided expectations unto God whom I thought He should be. Like the Mona Lisa, I created a god in my image rather than seeking the Truth. I was expecting a god indifferent to my needs, who created the world but expected me to forge my own path through my efforts alone. I created a god who followed a cosmic law of karmic retribution, punishing and rewarding me based upon my actions and behavior.
The Truth was God was born to a humble family in an obscure village. He was a simple carpenter and His ministry lasted three years. During this brief period, He was rejected by His own brothers and sisters and betrayed by His friends. The Truth was God suffered and died for my sins. This was not what I was expecting. Once I understood the selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what He did for me, I repented of my sinful attitude and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
My limited expectations about God were abundantly exceeded beyond anything I could ever conceive or imagine!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.