No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God,
but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Romans 4:20-21
You know the feeling. Something is not quite right. Something is still missing. Gaps and loose ends and ragged edges are still there. It’s definitely not time for the house lights to dim and the curtain to rise. We all face times when our hearts ache with "It was supposed to be better than this!" And when these times come, we have only a couple of options.
One option is to give center stage to Eeoyre, the droopy, depressed, disappointed donkey of Pooh stories. That's like reliving the day between Good Friday and Easter with the disciples - over and over. That first Sacred Saturday was the lowest day of low days. Disappointment (that's a huge understatement) ruled the day.
To be fair, our ancient faith family members had never experienced Easter.
But we have more than that. We have known Easter over and over again; we all have personal Easter stories. We have had resurrection right next to us, and in our history for thousands of years. Lingering in disappointment denies the resurrection. Languishing in disappointment denies His work outside our line of vision.
For us, there is another option.
We can take the reality of the broken, the lost, the incomplete and frame it, instead, with anticipation. We KNOW the story isn’t over, that something incredible really is coming.
We can set our hearts like Abraham did when he was given the most improbable of promises. Facing the choice between disappointment and anticipation, Abraham believed God who “calls into being things that are not.” And without faltering he faced the facts. But, he did not waver regarding the promise, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He promised. (Romans 4:17-24)
Facing our facts is good. But we can only bring those facts into clear focus by remembering who our God is. Then our Here-and-Now will be framed by the anticipation of the Yet-to-Be.
When we are living out of the overflow of friendship with God, of communion with His Spirit, we enjoy a life content in waiting for what He is doing beyond what we can ask or imagine.
Disappointment and anticipation are both acknowledgements that the story isn’t finished yet. Which will we carry with us?
(A more complete version of these devotional observations can be found on my personal blog at www.ProvisionsfortheSoul.com)
Blackberries & Bird nests - anticipation
The next few weeks are full of anticipation. There are blackberries ripening in my backyard. And eggs in the birdhouse nest. And sprouts in my flower garden. And so much more to look forward to …
At the first of May I will travel to Mesa, AZ, for the annual KidZ Staff Retreat. As much as I'm thankful for technology and all that it allows us to do as we partner with folks around the world, there is nothing like having face to face time with the KidZ community. We will have time to brainstorm and time to learn how we can cooperate and collaborate together to help children fall in love with Jesus. And we will have a day of spiritual retreat - quality time with the Lord.
After the KidZ Staff Retreat I will travel to Colorado for time with my family. As Jim and I drive home, we will stop briefly in Texas to spend a bit of time with Jim's parents. Time with them is very precious as they anticipate Heaven.
Later in May we will meet over a weekend with life-long friends to pray with them and discern with them what God has in store for their next life chapter. Transition days are days of anticipation!
We approach all of those plans with the prayer that God will prepare our hearts for how He will unfold His purposes. And we are grateful for we are fully persuaded that God has power to do all that He has promised - beyond what we could ask or think. So we ask God to stir our hearts with anticipation.
And - so we will get really good at it - we practice anticipation often ...
… watching a sunrise, boarding a plane, decorating a holiday table, ringing a doorbell, setting an alarm, addressing an invitation …
Please join me, with anticipation, as we ask God to:
· give us insight as we rewrite the Great Trainer Summit curriculum for use at other locations.
· help us persevere as we complete final details for the online course through Hope International University.
· intervene in Becki West's health challenges.
· give wisdom as we contemplate a new date for the Great Trainer Summit in Haiti, which was delayed due to civil unrest there.