Enjoying the Journey
Charles Dickens’ classic novel Great Expectations is on my Kindle. I must confess that I have read…and stopped reading the story several times through the years. It is a strange book. Pip, the young orphan in the tale, provides insight into the ambition of the human heart.
We all have it. Great expectations.
Some would say it is the driving force behind advancement and progress. Others would admit that it is the root of so much disappointment. Ours is a day of low expectations. Sad people have settled for less because something didn’t turn out the way they thought it should.
The problem is not great expectations. The problem is that so often our great expectations are just that – ours. They did not come from God and if they are fulfilled they will not bring Him glory. They are not great after all.
Greatness is always connected to God. He is great. We are not.
“And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not” (Jeremiah 45:5).
Yes, dream big dreams! Attempt something for the Lord! Live by faith! Pray for blessing! Claim Jeremiah 33:3! But measure every goal by the will of God.
1. Make God and God’s will the great expectation of your life.
Not money. Not position. Not the praise of men or even personal fulfillment. Only God and obedience to His will bring real purpose and lasting joy. He never disappoints.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62:5-6).
Stop trying to make it happen. Stop trusting in what men can do for you. Wait on God and work with your eyes on Him.
2. Put every great expectation through the test of wise counsel.
If it is great, it will stand the scrutiny.
“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22).
This world is full of disappointed people. Great expectations unfulfilled. Allow spiritual friends to help you refine your “purposes.” Listen to those who are willing to ask the hard questions and point you to the Lord.
3. Remember that often great expectations are being brought to pass in the middle of the most difficult circumstances.
The word expectation is full of hope. Full of excitement. Full of promise! But the process of expectations is sometimes painful. Recently a dear friend reminded me that it is not in the calm of life that the greatest work is being accomplished; it is in the struggle.
F.B. Meyer, in writing about Elijah, said, “The quiet life is no means the greatest life. Some characters can only reach the highest standard of spirituality by the disturbings or displacings in the order of God’s providence.”
This is how the aging Apostle Paul could sit in a Roman prison facing the possibility of execution and write: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
Great expectations does not mean everything works out the way you think it should. It means that everything works out the way God desires for it to. That is enough. He is enough.
God’s Word speaks frequently about the expectation of the wicked. It will be cut off. Did you ever think that your expectation was wicked? When our expectations are rooted in the ideas of this world, the desire to please others, or our own pride – they are wicked. Anything that leaves God out of life is ungodly.
Judge your great expectations by your great God. Only then will it be more than selfish ambition. Only then can it bring Him glory.