Have you ever started a project only to discover the project was way bigger than you anticipated? It happens all the time. The size of the project can be measured by the additional trips to the home improvement store, or the additional items in the shopping cart that were not on the list for grocery shopping. We try to justify the value of more by saying things like: “…but it was on sale” or “they grow up so fast” and my personal favorite, “...look at the money I saved…” God is by no means a project, but He is bigger than we can anticipate and He calls us to more than we can imagine.
In the Old Testament, Noah built an Ark as God instructed him. I wonder at what point did Noah realize that the project was way bigger than he anticipated. I imagine Noah came to this conclusion when he was gathering the materials to build the ark to house all the animals or gathering enough food for them before getting on the ark. Likewise, Moses delivered a message to Pharaoh as God instructed him and then Moses lead the Israelites for the next forty years. In the New Testament, Peter preached the Good News of Jesus on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people came forward to be baptized. John was the last apostle and he was exiled to an isolated island to spend the rest of his days; he was alone and he had a vision, good thing he wrote it down, we know it as the book of Revelation. I am sure there are more examples, but my point is simple, God always exceeds our initial expectations.
Just beyond our expectations is where God is seen best. “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16) and His love is bigger, more powerful, more faithful, more gracious and we only come to know these characteristics as we walk with God. The journey may be long, lonely and overwhelming and turning back may seem like the best option at times, but at this point we must realize that we are at the half-way point in our journey with God. Returning to an expectation of God that is not bigger than ourselves is like Israel, in the book of Exodus, wanting to go back to Egypt. We must strive to press forward and experience the life altering presence of God with the realization that when we are brought to the end of our own expectations we look beyond ourselves to see a God that is ready to make Himself known.
In the church, what God has said in Scripture and what God desires never needs to come under the shadow of what any one person thinks or feels; otherwise we will never come to the realization that Paul came to in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”