If only we could order life the way we order gourmet coffee. Wouldn’t you love to mix and match the ingredients of your future?

“Give me a tall, extra-hot cup of adventure, cut the dangers, with two shots of good health.”

“A decaf brew of longevity, please, with a sprinkle of fertility. Go heavy on the agility and cut the disability.”

“I’ll have a pleasure mocha with extra stirrings of indulgence. Make sure it’s consequence free.”

“I’ll go with a grande happy-latte, with a dollop of love, sprinkled with Caribbean retirement.”

Take me to that coffee shop. Too bad it doesn’t exist. Truth is, life often hands us a concoction entirely different from the one we requested. Ever feel as though the barista-from-above called your name and handed you a cup of unwanted stress?

“Joe Jones, enjoy your early retirement. Looks as if it comes with marital problems and inflation.”

“Mary Adams, you wanted four years of university education, then kids. You’ll be having kids first. Congratulations on your pregnancy.”

“A hot cup of job transfer six months before your daughter’s graduation, Susie. Would you like some patience with that?”

Life comes caffeinated with surprises. Modifications. Transitions. Alterations. You move down the ladder, out of the house, over for the new guy, up through the system. All this moving. Some changes welcome, others not. And in those rare seasons when you think the world has settled down, watch out. One seventy-seven-year-old recently told a friend of mine, “I’ve had a good life. I am enjoying my life now, and I am looking forward to the future.” Two weeks later a tornado ripped through the region, taking the lives of his son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and daughter-in-law’s mother. We just don’t know, do we? On our list of fears, the fear of what’s next demands a prominent position. We might request a decaffeinated life, but we don’t get it. The disciples didn’t.

“I am going away” ( John 14:28).

Imagine their shock when they heard Jesus say those words. He spoke them on the night of the Passover celebration, Thursday evening, in the Upper Room. Christ and his friends had just enjoyed a calm dinner in the midst of a chaotic week. They had reason for optimism: Jesus’ popularity was soaring. Opportunities were increasing. In three short years the crowds had lifted Christ to their shoulders . . . he was the hope of the common man.

The disciples were talking kingdom rhetoric, ready to rain down fire on their enemies, jockeying for positions in the cabinet of Christ. They envisioned a restoration of Israel to her days of glory. No more Roman occupation or foreign oppression. This was the parade to freedom, and Jesus was leading it.

And now this? Jesus said, “I am going away.” The announcement stunned them. When Jesus explained, “You know the way to where I am going,” Thomas, with no small dose of exasperation, replied, “No, we don’t know, Lord. We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” ( John 14:4–5 NLT).

Christ handed the disciples a cup of major transition, and they tried to hand it back. Wouldn’t we do the same? Yet who succeeds? What person passes through life surprise free? If you don’t want change, go to a soda machine; that’s the only place you won’t find any.

Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).

Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Max Lucado’s book, Fearless. It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

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