Great Expectations or Delusions of Grandeur?

From John Koessler’s book The Surprising Grace of Disappointment : Finding Hope When God Seems to Fail Us (Chicago: Moody, 2013):

“Mary, I know what I’m going to do tomorrow and the next day and the next year and the year after that.  I’m going to leave this little town far behind and I’m going to see the world.  Italy, Greece, the Parthenon… the Coliseum.  Then I’m coming back here and I’ll go to college and see what they know and then I’m going to build things  I’m going to build air fields. I’m going to build skyscrapers a hundred stories high.  I’m going to build bridges a mile long.”

So says George Bailey in director Frank Capra’s beloved classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  But George is wrong.  He doesn’t know what he’s going to do tomorrow and the next day and the next year and the year after that.  As it turns out, what he is supposed to do tomorrow is pretty much what he did today.  God’s plan for him is to do the ordinary thing, which of course is the last thing that George wants to do.  Because George Bailey wants to lasso the moon.

Like George Bailey, we want to do something extraordinary.  It is no wonder.  This is what we have been told that we should do by our parents, pastors, and teachers.  We have been urged to take our little lasso of Christian ambition in hand, shake it loose, and aim as high as we are able.  We are told to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.  But for most of us the moon isn’t what God has in mind.  His plan does not call for us to streak into the heavens and leave behind a trail of glory.  God’s purpose is more down-to-earth.  God’s purpose for us is more mundane.  At times we might even call it dull.  And like George Bailey, we are not happy about it because we do not want to lead an ordinary life.


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