There’s a Christian book on marriage, targeted at couples looking toward marriage, titled “What Did You Expect?” It’s a great title, hinting at the fact that marriage is often much harder and much different than we anticipate. Marriage is the union of two imperfect people, so it can’t and won’t be perfect. I wonder if someone ought to write a book about the church with the same title – “What Did You Expect?” I think we often (even subconsciously) expect the church to be perfect, forgetting that a perfected church is the promise of Revelation 21, not Revelation 2-3. There is no perfect church this side of glory. In fact, consider the letters of the New Testament, and the kinds of issues they address. Romans is written to a church full of ethnic division. 1 Corinthians is written to a church full of sexual sin and idolatry and pride over giftedness. 2 Corinthians is written to a church deceived by false apostles. Galatians is written to a church full of legalists who have abandoned the gospel. Colossians is written to a church tempted to add extra works to the gospel of grace. Philippians is written to a church suffering from in-fighting. 2 Thessalonians is written to a church confused about their obligations to work and the basic doctrine of the second coming of Jesus. Hebrews is written to a church full of people tempted to abandon the cross and go back to Judaism. I could go on! The point is: don’t be surprised when the church is frustratingly imperfect. That isn’t an excuse to look past glaring issues or overlook spiritual unfaithfulness. Things that need correcting should be corrected. But it is a call to look to Jesus, and notice how patient He is with His people, collectively and individually. Jesus loves His church. He loves us. We ought to love what He loves. And we look to the end, knowing that His church will one day be a spotless bride, even if she’s a little spotty in the meantime.