“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6
“The Bible is full of contradictions” we hear the skeptics say. Perhaps I agree with them, although not in the way they mean. The Bible IS filled with ironies, absurdities, and paradoxes. For, only in our wildest dreams could we imagine a Man walking on water, or a blind man receiving his sight, or the many being fed with the little.
But the greatest paradoxes, these we find in the Christmas story. We see a virgin giving birth and God becoming a Man. In his book “Miracles,” C.S. Lewis writes, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.” The Incarnation is the core tenet of our faith. It cannot be put aside. Our hope rests on the great bookends of the Incarnation and resurrection of Jesus. A Christianity without miracles is no Christianity at all.
Again, to quote C.S. Lewis, “A ‘liberal’ Christianity which considers itself free to alter the faith whenever the faith looks perplexing or repellent must be completely stagnant.” And to that I say “amen.” In this world of scientific pursuit and a constant attempt to explain away the miracles of the Bible, I am renewed and refreshed in my pursuit of the God of miracles. We serve the One Who calmed the sea, parted the waters, came to earth as a baby, and died and rose again so that we might live. Our faith is filled with ironies, absurdities, and paradoxes…and the greatest of these mean LIFE for all who believe.
Expectations: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
How difficult and distressing when reality does not live up to our expectations…what we think ‘should’ happen.
I have talked/counseled/encouraged/rebuked and listened to hundreds of people through the 51 years I have been a Christian. There are those that seem to have unshakable faith and those that struggle almost daily, and many that are somewhere in between. What makes the difference? I don’t have a deep theological answer to this question just some thoughts from years of experience. My somewhat simplistic observation, I can’t help myself, that’s what I do, look for the simplest answer possible, is disillusioned, unmet expectations. People have wrong thinking and wrong expectations because they have wrong thinking and wrong expectations about people and most assuredly about God.
He/she should’ve or he/she could’ve or why did they not respond in a way I ‘expected?’ It gets even weightier when we pummel God in the same way; God should’ve or certainly He could’ve. We, in essence, take God to court and put Him on the witness stand as we throw questions, and yes, sometimes even accusations. I’m glad God does not get nervous over our tantrums!
Only time and experience equip a person with the ability to maintain a certain amount of peace and trust in the midst of life’s unruly situations. You must, and you will, learn the benefit of the words of the Apostle James:
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
Nothing tests our faith like unmet expectations. Of course, we can assuredly ‘expect’ God to move in our situations…the key is to trust His ways and not our ways. Isaiah reminds us of this timeless truth: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord."
Our steady foundation must rest, not on expectations from people, because they will surely disappoint, but on expectancy that God works in His way and in His time!