Since the ladies retreat in March I’ve been mulling over the topic of expectations and how it relates to faith. I’ve thought a lot about the subject and could spend days discussing all the different perspectives that I can see in the Scriptures, but the theme that I have found repeating itself remains the centrality of an eternal perspective.
Why would God not move and do the thing that we think would be good and right and glorifying to Him in the moment? He sees all of eternity and can evaluate with perfect knowledge whether that thing is the BEST thing or not. We don’t know whether a thing is really the best thing or not when held in light of eternity. We see only in the finite.
My own expectations and desires, as dear as they are to my heart, are still finite. I was re-reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis again the other night and once again I was left pondering the quotes below.
How many of my expectations and desires are simple little mud pies compared to what God really has planned for me? What will I miss if continue to focus on what I think I want in this life? If I fail to make the hard choices (over and over again) to lift my eyes up and look beyond the circumstances of the finite, then I lose sight of the hope, the true expectation, that will never disappoint and the eternal perspective that is so central to the Scripture.
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like the ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot image what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
“If a transtemporal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must bear at best only a symbolical relation to what will truly satisfy.”
On a side note: I think that eternity, including teaching on heaven and the Kingdom, may be one of the most under-taught aspects of the Scriptures in the modern church. I understand the catch phrase that someone can be “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good,” however, what we often refer to as the apostolic hope, what we really believe about eternity, effects every aspect of our Christian life. We were made for more than this world and if you want to challenge yourself to awaken hope in your life I’d recommend doing a Bible study on the theme of the Kingdom and Eternal Hope, in both the prophets and the New Testament. For further reading I would also recommend Ted Dekker’s The Slumber of Christianity and, of course, C.S. Lewis’ essay The Weight of Glory. Below is another quote from the essay, not on the subject of expectations and desires, rather on the subject of how our views of eternity and the eternal nature of mankind impacts our life here and now, just for thought.
“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often of too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility will carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspections proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”