Goals and great expectations. We all have them. We are told that it is good to have them, that that’s how we will fulfill our dreams.
But there’s a difference between a goal and an expectation. A goal is something you hope will come true, and you’re willing to work towards accomplishing that goal. It requires your effort.
Now an expectation on the other hand, is when you think something should happen, that you are entitled to it. You want it, whatever it is, and in your want, you start to think in your mind that this specific thing will happen, that it must happen in order for you to be happy.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Hope for the best. Expect the worst.” Its practical wisdom from the millions of people before you who know the tough truth, which is that our expectations often lead to disappointment. We are to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst so that we won’t feel devastated when what we want to happen doesn’t come true.
Now God puts gifts into our lives all the time. Great gifts. Today is evidence of that. But gifts from heaven don’t always look like we have imagined them. Today is also evidence of that.
In Jesus’ time, the people were expecting the Messiah to be a mighty king, someone who would take over and use his power to bring justice to the land. And boy, were their expectations smashed when Jesus came around. Rather than be a king who executed judgment, he was a servant who exercised forgiveness. Rather than be a ruler who would overthrow the current regime, he was a lamb sacrificed for the salvation of the people. Rather than be exulted in glory, he was hung on a cross.
It was foolish to the people then, and for many of us, the logic still seems foolish. Why would God come in power only to die on a cross? Where is the victory in that? But as we know, what seems like foolishness to us turns out to in fact be the wisdom of God.
Because on the third day, after his friends had betrayed and denied him, after the crowds shouted, “Crucify him,” after the sun refused to shine on that fateful day, after the curtain of the temple was torn in two following Jesus’ last words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” something amazing happened...
You see, what we expected and what happened were totally different. But not different in a bad way, different in a miraculous way. We thought Jesus should never die and live a full life on this earth, but God had something even better in mind. That Jesus should die and be raised from the dead. Now that’s a plan to defeat sin and evil and death! A plan none of us could have come up with.
We must always remember that God’s plans are greater than human understanding.
We must remember that what seems foolish to us might just be the wisdom of God rising us up to a higher calling.
We often don’t know “why”. We don’t understand why Jesus had to die, or in our own lives, we don’t understand why the child gets sick or the marriage fails or the debt piles high. But God has plans for our live that we can’t see ahead of time. That’s why we walk by faith. That’s why we need to trust in the goodness of God.
Jesus is risen! Jesus lives! That means death has been defeated. That we have found new life, eternal and abundant life. The message is one of great hope, but we must ask, what does this mean for us? How can we live into this resurrection story?
The first thing we can do is get rid of our expectations because you know how to make God laugh right? Tell him your plans.
You don’t know what God is going to do with your life. You might want one thing, but get something very different. And this is the wisdom of God.
Know this: if you have a checklist in your head for your perfect spouse, or a checklist in your head for the perfect career, or a checklist in your head for a perfect life, give it up now.
You see only in part, but God sees the whole picture and gives you only what is for your benefit, for your transformation, for you to live into the promise of eternal life.
What will God do with you? Relax and enjoy the surprise. Let go of any preconceived notions. Amazing things are happening around here. And you are a part of it!
Jesus Christ has been risen from the grave! He lives. And because he lives, you too shall live.