Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ. -Ephesians 3:20-21 (Living Translation)
I turned the calendar page to December yesterday. How is it possible that we are entering the final month of 2014? It doesn’t seem long ago that we were ringing in the New Year and making lists of all we hoped for the year ahead. My list was made and vigilantly kept for at least a few weeks. I typically reach the point in the year about now, if not earlier, in which I realistically decide to take a break from striving toward goals and wait for a New Year to try again. I’ll just get by for one more month and then get back on track come January 1st.
Not so this year. I am not confining myself to “realistic” living any longer. To live as people of bold hope requires a little unrealistic expectancy, some daring dreaming. Bold hope cannot live in the boxes of realistic existing. Because really, how realistic was a virgin conceiving a child – let alone God? Or a star providing exact directions for some wandering God-seekers? There was nothing realistic about the nativity story. It broke outside of all boxes, beyond all speculations, away from anyone’s wildest imaginings.
And yet I, a child of God, tell myself to be realistic about my hopes for the final weeks of 2014. To not expect anything too grand, to marvelous. To not get my hopes up. To be realistic about the days ahead that are sovereignly orchestrated by a limitless God.
I may need to be realistic about my own limitations. I will not be capable of making every festive Pinterest recipe and craft that catches my fancy. Nor will I be able to keep a perfectly clean home while balancing three diverse jobs and spending time with family. I won’t be able to do three weeks of late nights and early mornings without getting exhausted and I will probably not find the perfect gift for every family member. (Sorry guys.) I foresee myself reaching December 31st and still having incomplete resolutions on my list.
The thing is though, my abilities and limitations are not going to decide the grandeur of this month. Sure, I won’t do it all. But I can’t let my own shortcomings affect the miraculous outcome that God can bring about in a month. I won’t lower my expectations simply because I may not follow through. The birth and life of Jesus Christ is a proclamation of the high expectations we now can have.
Yeah, I know. It’s a lot easier to keep a tight reign on your hopes so that they stay close to the ground, rooted in reality. I know it hurts deeper when they fall if they were way up high – I know the shards of shattered hopes are more go further if dropped from a higher place. There’s a risk to this hoping. But we have a God that promises to follow through.
Perhaps there’s a whisper to your soul today. A whisper that calls you to let your expectation rise, to be vulnerable enough to hope God sized hopes. He will not disappoint. In fact, He promises above and beyond what you could ever imagine.