It seems like most people who know who Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was have at least one or two favorite quotes by him.  

One of mine is: “After 15 years I discovered I couldn’t write, but by then it was too late – I was already famous.”  

This quote put a smile on my face, and then it gave me a pause for thought. Like so many things attributed to him, the humor is inescapable, but the deeper layers of thought is always present.

Another Twain quote: “In the real world, the right thing never happens in the right place and the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to make it appear that it has.”

How true it is that our lives rarely turn out as we plan or hope it would be. Or we sometimes get what we want and work so hard to achieve, but it is never like what we thought it would be when we get it.

New Soldiers come to the Army with certain expectations colored by the veterans, Families and friends they talked to before joining only to find that basic training is nothing like anyone predicted. One’s entire military career tends to follow much the same line.

Marriages rarely turn out like we think – or want. Retirement is never what it is cracked up to be. Children are determined to go their own way and frustrate every parent’s expectation.

No amount of spin can change reality though our perception of reality is always up for grabs.

The great thing about heaven is that no matter how wild your imagination may run, it will never match the reality of eternity with God. In the here and now, an expectation often exceeds reality, but in the hereafter reality is set to shock and awe continuously.

Sometimes we set our sights too high. Once we make a commitment to give our lives over to God, he most certainly showers blessings on us – but he also allows hardship and testing for us to grow and mature. The real payoff is later, and faith is trusting in that truth. Disappointment is usually the product of our own frustrated perceptions, but God never disappoints, and he never fails to fulfill his promises. Thanks be to God.