#2016 Great Expectations

By On Monday, 04 January 2016 09:54
#2016 Great Expectations 9buzz.com

"Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations."

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 

Pip is the protagonist in Charles Dickens classic novel Great Expectations. The story goes that young orphaned Pip dreams of becoming a proper English gentleman to win the heart of Estella-his romantic interest but the task is almost an impossibility owing to his very humble background.

 

So he dreams and hopes of a time when this will change until  he unexpectedly becomes the benefactor of a large amount of money because he treated a homeless person kindly. Pip has great hope that things will now change for the better owing to his new found wealth. However, a couple of bad decisions later and as fate would have it,Pip goes back to home to make things right but finds that life moved on without him and goes to a far away land yet again. That’s a very simple summary of the book but what I wanted to highlight from it is the theme running throughout the novel which is common to all human beings; the idea that humans hold on to this innate feeling that there is always something better out there waiting for us, an expectation of a better life than the one we find ourselves in currently and we are always looking to see how we can best make it a reality.

The New Year season is one that I find myself slowly becoming weary of, specifically because of this constant bombardment with messages of great hope, great expectations of what the year ahead holds. This is more so within the Christian circles than anywhere else. This year is particularly difficult seeing as I have zero expectations for the possible good that God has for 2016. Don’t get me wrong though, I do have a general positive outlook, but if you ask me what specific thing I am looking forward to see happen this year or my list of prayers for the year I will draw a complete blank.

The thing about expectations is that they are birthed from a very personal and individualistic thought process and because of that, more often than not the logic that builds up the expectation is usually flawed. We create these expectations based on personal bias and emotional desires that are sometimes unrealistic. We get our hopes up based on some false or non existent premise and when these expectations are not met we end up blaming something or someone who did not live up to our expectations regardless of how unrealistic they were. My personal experience with New Year expectations is that the one who always gets the blame is unfortunately God.

And this begs the question, what do the scriptures teach us about having expectations? The bible has so many promises that fill our hearts with great hope, great expectations. We take these promises and we run with them the entire year, at the end of which we look back and sometimes we find that our expectations were not met and we shake our fists frustratingly at God. Where did we go wrong? Natalie Grant grant in "Our hope endures" sings that this hope that we have as believers is more than just simple optimism. It's supposed to be something solid, something definite, something sure because of what we know to be true about our God.

Taking a look at one such scripture - the famous Jeremiah 29:11

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A great promise, isn't it? Do you suppose the israelites suffered from great disappointment when this prophesy did not prove true at the end of that year? At the end of the second year? The 10th year? The 50th year? Because guess what? It took some 70years before the Israelites saw the coming to pass of this word that we hold on to even today. In the meantime they had to suffer through the painful whip of slavery, suffering and even death. What would you do if you knew for sure that the word you're holding onto this 2016 will only come to fruition in 2026? Would it change anything about how you choose to live this year? How you will walk with God this year? What is it that will keep you going until 2026?

To be quite honest at this point I have more questions than answers and I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts. What expectations do you have for your year? Are they general( good health and good success) or are they specific- if they are specific, what premise are you basing them on? A word from God? Intuition? New year rush? Past experience? Is there such a thing as unrealistic expectations with God? How do you handle the great disappointment that sometimes comes with unmet expectations?

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