Anticipation

We have a small tradition in our family when it comes to holidays, birthdays and special events. We do a countdown. Last year for a family vacation with friends we started 10 days out and put up big pages on our fireplace mantel counting down the days. We do this Christmas and other fun events. My daughter has caught this tradition and is already putting up a countdown in her bedroom for her birthday in 37 days—a bit early for my taste.

I think I do this because I love to anticipate things. And the saying is mostly true for me—the anticipation of something is oftentimes even better than the event. It’s not to say that I don’t like holidays—I absolutely love them—but I so enjoy the anticipation of that special day or event.

This isn’t to say that everything is all rosy when it comes to waiting. There are always tons to do before you head out for vacation. In my line of work I have to have everything laid out for my team the entire time I’m gone—so there’s usually a lot to accomplish. There’s also the packing and getting ready at home, or the buying of presents and getting the house in order.

Waiting in anticipation can be a difficult thing. However, when it’s something you’re looking forward to it’s usually a labor of joy.

I find in my life, however, that that same principle doesn’t usually apply to waiting on God.

Why is that?

God has always proven himself to me to work things for my good (I believe there’s a promise in there somewhere). He has never taken me down a course that didn’t ultimately glorify His Name in my life.

Sure, there are things that I don’t understand—maybe never will—but God’s track record in my life has always been perfect—He always provides.

And yet when it comes to waiting on his direction, waiting on him to provide answers, waiting on him to show the way “joyful anticipation” isn’t what I experience.

In fact it’s more like agonizing worry, fear, self-doubt, and incredible soul searching.

Waiting on God in this way is so burdensome.

There’s got to be a better way.

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been asking God to give me a sense of joyful anticipation at what he is doing in my life.

Why should I bear the load of worry and fear when God’s timing is absolutely perfect?
Why should I bear the weight of this burden when God has it all figured out?
Why not wait on God the way I wait for Christmas, birthdays, and vacations?

Waiting on God shouldn’t be hard should it?

Isaiah 64 says this:
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

This theme of waiting on God is saturated in both the Old and New Testaments. The book of Psalms alone has 17 verses challenging us to wait on God.

Psalms 5:3 says this:
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

“Wait in expectation”.

Not wait in fear and worry about how God will provide.
Not wait in a puddle of self doubt and examination.

Wait in expectation.

But can this be done when the heat is on?

How do I wait in joyful expectation when I need an answer or deliverance RIGHT NOW?

One of the passages of Scripture that keeps coming back to my mind is the whole story of Saul in 1 Samuel 13. Saul and his Israelite army were facing the hordes of “countless” Philistines ready for battle. Samuel the Prophet was supposed to show up and offer sacrifices to God in order to seek His favor in battle. But after waiting for Samuel seven days Saul decides to do the sacrifices himself.

Verse 10 says this: “Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.”

Not a very happy moment for Saul.

Samuel condemns Saul for his foolish act and because of this Saul’s entire legacy and kingdom would soon be taken away from him.

If Saul knew that Samuel was going to show up would he have waited a bit longer?
If Saul knew that his impatience was going to cost him everything would he have held out for a few more hours?
If Saul knew that God would deliver His people would be have been so worried and would he have jumped ahead of God?

So often I am like Saul. The heat is on. I have to make a decision or I need some guidance and direction.

And I think I need it now.

It’s at those times that I usually jump ahead and try to do something on my own.

It’s at those times that I forget the most important thing I must do.

I must remember to wait on God and to be joyfully expectant of Him revealing the answer, the path or the deliverance I need.

Taking matters in my own hand is never the right course of action.

Waiting with joyful expectation at God’s hand is always the right path.

A friend from long ago called me this morning out of the blue. I haven’t talked to him literally in years. His motivation for calling me was a burden God laid on his heart to tell me this:
“When you don’t know what to do, seize that moment to honor God by doing what is right.”

What a great word of encouragement today.

When I don’t know what to do I must continue to wait on God.

Not in fear or worry.

I must remember to wait on God with joyful expectation.

What he is going to do in and through my life is way better than any vacation I could ever take. If I would proceed with waiting on Him like I would a Disney World vacation then I’m guessing this waiting business wouldn’t be so difficult.

Isaiah 64
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

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