Futility And Managing Expectations


A lot of people feel entitled to things going well for them.

This is shown true by how ripped off people feel when things don’t go well for them and how ungrateful people feel when things do go well for them.

If things going poorly lands as injustice to you, and things going well doesn’t land as a gift to you, then you are living with a dangerous sense of self righteous entitlement.

The truth is that creation has been corrupted by sin and is in bondage to decay (Rom 8:20-21) and you and I are just as personally and equally responsible as anyone. We’ve all sinned and fallen short (Rom 3:20-23).

Therefore all good that comes to us is grace and any lessened experience of futility is grace as well.

Because our ancestors and I sinned, creation was justly subjected to futility (Rom 8:20-21, Gen 3:17). We should expect futility.

We should expect thorns and pain, sickness and tears, death and decay.

The world has been justly subjected to futility and you and I are responsible.


…when the kingdom of God came – something changed (Heb 2:8).

Ever since the kingdom of God came there is now hope that futility will be reversed, sometimes, in this age.

Faith believes that futility will be reversed sometimes in this age and that in the age to come futility will be completely reversed: no more sickness, sadness, death, and decay.

Because we don’t know when or how often futility will be reversed, we should therefore live with an expectation that it:

  1. will be reversed sometimes,
  2. could be reversed anytime,
  3. and always is reversed when Christ’s kingdom comes.

If futility is not reversed and one continues to experience it, it is totally just. We bear equal responsibility for that futility being there because we’ve sinned and broken every law (James 2:10).

Beware of the subtle belief that you deserve a certain level of reduced futility and that when you don’t get it, you get angry, feel ripped off, and blame God.

Beware also of self righteous condescension on those experiencing more futility than you. The only thing currently separating you from a greater experience of futility is God’s undeserved, mind numbingly awesome, grace.

Next time you experience futility, humbly take responsibility for the consequence of your sin on creation, thank God for his amazing grace currently keeping you from an even greater experience of futility, and rejoice in the future hope of the resurrection.

And next time you see someone else experiencing a more heightened sense of futility than you are, have compassion on them, while thanking God for the unconditional grace that in that moment has chosen to have you experiencing less futility than them, by no merit of your own, and pray for them that God’s kingdom would come on earth as it is heaven.

(Image adapted from: Nige Harriscc)

About Josh Christophersen

Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.

Add a comment