One of my favorite stories that I read as a youth was the Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations. It tells the story of Pip, a poor English orphan who later rises to wealth as he begins to discover the “great expectations” that an anonymous benefactor has for him. But in the process of this discovery, Pip deserts his true friends, and eventually becomes humbled by his own arrogance.
In the book Desire of Ages, which by the way, happens to be my all-time favorite book on the life of Christ, Ellen White reveals the great expectations that God wants you and me to have of Him. On page 668 she says the following:
“The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them; else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.”
So many times when reflecting on our relationship with God, the tendency is for us to focus on the expectations that God has for us. This message is clearly conveyed to us each time we read God’s word, especially the Ten Commandments. But what I hear being said in this statement is that God wants us to have expectations of Him as well. And not simply expectations, but expectations that are “large” in nature. What is so remarkable about all of this is that Ellen White says that we disappoint God when our expectations of Him are too small. In other words, we let God down when we limit our requests of Him to only what we can believe. That’s why in Hebrews it says that “without faith, it impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).” So pleasing God transcends merely what we do; it also is determined by what we believe. In essence, pleasing God also means being willing to put our faith as well as our God to the test.
Yes, it’s true that God has expectations of us, and naturally so. After all, we are his children. But one of those expectations is that we have expectations of Him as well. So as we are drawing to the close of 2012, and as we prepare to enter the unknown of 2013, let us do so by expecting moreof ourselves than we did in 2012. At the same time, let us not forget that the great God of heaven will be disappointed if we neglect to expect more out of Him as well.