I bought an air fryer last year during the middle of the worst of the pandemic. It was one of the better purchases I've made in a long time.
Apparently, I wasn't alone. Along with getting a puppy and having a baby, buying an air fryer during COVID was apparently part of some sort of coping exercise for people.
Also eating more... binge-watching Netflix shows, and buying pants that can be worn casually at home on Zoom calls, and also less casually to work on the days when you do find yourself at the office.
True confession: I did all of those things, too.
But here's what the last thing (the pants) and the first thing (air fryer) have in common: They both delivered on what was advertised.
The air fryer is amazing. It just works exactly as it is supposed to.
And those pants I bought--probably the best pair of pants I've ever owned. They're comfortable, versatile, stylish, and exactly as advertised.
As usual, these kinds of reflections led me to start thinking about faith and life.
There it is. I bet you were wondering when that shift was going to come. And I handled it so smoothly, too!
But still, I did get to thinking about the "as advertised" label in relation to what a lot of us think the Christian life should be like.
I can't tell you how many people I've talked to over the years who experience tragedy, trials, and tribulations, and then wonder aloud why bad things are happening to them when they took the trouble to become a Christian so they wouldn't.
Don't get me wrong, they don't say those things outright, but in so many words they will express their displeasure that the whole Christian thing really isn't "as advertised."
After all, Jesus promised happiness, joy, carefree living, prosperity, and the like... right? Not really, actually. In fact, if you read through the sayings of Jesus you'll find the exact opposite at times.
Jesus didn't mince words when he told his followers that they would experience, rejection, betrayal, hardship, troubles, pain, and the like. In other words, he told them they would experience life with all that it brings.
He also told them that they would find peace, fulfillment, joy, hope and most of all they would know love. They would be able to discover what it means to live their best and truest lives no matter what.
And so when I think about how some might say that the Christian life isn't "as advertised," I would beg to differ. It is exactly as advertised when you take the time to read what Jesus actually said about it.
It's as advertised because what Jesus was sharing wasn't respite from the troubles that life brings, it was a respite from worrying constantly about them. He also offered restoration, renewal, rest, and resurrection, all of which we can experience as well.
May you find hope and peace in this truth, and may it be a comfort to you in times of challenge. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.