Charles Dickens book, “Great Expectations,” tells of a poor young man who dreamed that one day he would be a wealthy man and marry a beautiful and rich woman.   As often happens, his great expectations turned into a great disappointment.

Young people get married and expect to never have a difficult moment.  But a lot can happen between the wedding cake and the silver anniversary cake.   It seems that those that do the best in life are those who are able to handle failed expectations without becoming offended at people or God.

The word “offence” means a trap or a stumbling block. It is when you allow an offence to become a snare or allow it to cause you to stumble.  Jesus said that offences were inevitable, so the key is not to let those offences stumble us.  Paul knew this, so he constantly guarded his heart against being offended at God or man. Acts 24:16.  And he had plenty he could have been offended at!  While trying to serve God, he was allowed to be beaten, flogged, imprisoned, shipwrecked and rejected by the very people he was trying to save.  We can be offended by people who correct us or that don’t meet expectations but we can also be offended at God.

John the Baptist, a boyhood friend and relative of Jesus, who ate bugs for a lifetime in order to serve God the best he could, was put in prison but he imagined that Jesus would get him out. After all He broke Daniel, three Hebrew boys,  Jeremiah and Joseph out of prison so why not John?  Jesus left him in prison to die and said.  “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew  11:6) 

We could almost excuse JB from being offended, it seems like a raw deal, but God saw it differently.  Jesus told the whole planet that John the Baptist was the greatest person ever born of women.  Mat 11:11. That is greater than Moses, David, Samuel and Elijah – the greatest man in 4000 years. And he will be eternally honoured for that. He was the only other man who the Bible says was sent from God. John 1:6 . John had a divine mission, to prepare the world for Salvation and thereby change the entire universe.  Since his death he has impacted more people than in his short life, just like Jesus.  And he was elevated to heaven to be part of life with Heavenly Father and family. He was a victim for a second but a victor for eternity. If nothing else good happens to us in life and we still get to go to heaven, it’s the grace of God and that is a great life.

Friend, To serve Gods purpose in the years we have on earth and then be with God forever, is the grace of God and that is a great life.  How are your expectations? As William Carey said “We should expect great things from God and attempt great things for God”   but are you expecting from Him more that He actually promised. Don’t take offence at God- He is planning a great ending for you. If every day in this life is filled with troubles, we still have a great heavenly expectation.

Published by Jim Shaw