Our Great Expectations
Charles Dickens wrote a novel in 1860 about a poor boy whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of his "great expectations"—a mysterious influx of money with the power to turn him into a gentleman. It's a rags-to-riches story for little Pip right up until it isn't. Because Great Expectations are only as reliable as their source, after all.
Being the bookish, Dickens-loving, British novel nut that I am, I couldn't help thinking of Pip when I stumbled on I Peter 1:3-4 and a reminder of our own great expectations.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
Oh, so many things to unpack here, so many wonderful reminders of God's mercy and grace and divine choosing, so many things to be completely and perfectly and incandescently thankful for (to quote Kiera Knightly's Pride and Prejudice—I told you I'm a British novel nut). But the part of this verse I couldn't help falling in love with is, in fact, only six words long.
Now we live with great expectation.
We, being you and I. Great expectation being the guarantee of a "priceless inheritance" in heaven obtained and preserved for us by GOD HIMSELF.
Now being right now. This moment. And this one. And this one. And this one—
Great expectation. Like Pip, our lives have been transformed by a benefactor, but a Benefactor whose love and lavishing grace are completely uncalled-for, totally undeserved, and capable of radically altering who we are on a quintessential level. Our benefactor has allowed us to begin life over again as transformed creatures. Then, if that wasn't enough, He added eternal life to the mix. And if all that wasn't enough, we have another inheritance waiting for us in heaven—endless joy and nearness to our glorious Benefactor Himself.
Great expectations are only as reliable as their source. Pip had that lesson to learn, but so do we. Because our source, our Benefactor, is more reliable than anyone or anything that has ever existed within the cosmos, but we still doubt. We question our salvation. We question the goodness of God. We grow weary and lose sight of the inheritance waiting for us, or live as if it isn't even there.
But it is. And God is good. And whom our Benefactor saves, He saves. We can live with great expectation of the hope of God both now and in eternity because our Benefactor is reliable and unchanging and keeps every promise, always. We can live with great expectation, not just holding it in the back of our minds but truly living with that expectation in sight, because nothing can take from us what our Benefactor has so graciously, mercifully given.
We were lost, poor, destitute, destined for a worse place than the worst place in this world.
But now—thanks to our glorious Benefactor—we live with great expectation. Let's tell the world why.