We live with anticipation.
Anticipation – Expectation or prediction. With the probability or expectation of something happening.
My son Sammy and his wife Emily anticipate strong consistent contractions signaling the arrival of their first child – a little girl. 40 weeks of preparation and prayer culminate with a trip to the hospital and the expectation of pain and gain to bring new life into the world. I look forward with them to the safe arrival of God’s beautiful gift to the family… Anticipation.
After being spayed last week, if Grace could “anticipate” something, I suppose she anticipates the removal of the plastic cone surrounding her neck. While the cone provides protection from injury to the stitches on her abdomen, it also creates frustration and hindrances to playing, eating, and sleeping. Only nine more days to go with the cone… Anticipation.
Anticipation offers both hopes and dreams as well as concerns and uncertainties. We anticipate new-homeowner contracts, stop lights, healing, prayer, tough conversations, justice, blessing, travel, sunrises and sunsets, volunteering, holidays, sleep, new experiences, time in the Bible, results from the doctor’s office, storms and sunshine, personal growth, heaven, the ending of wars, new seasons, and more.
Today I anticipate hot water flowing from the round shower head, Grace’s feisty antics as she devours her morning meal, lingering phone calls with family and friends, a reliable vehicle that drives well, sweet soul care sessions at the office and via zoom, rich time in the Psalms and in prayer, time to read a book for book club, and a good night’s sleep.
Pay attention to the anticipations in your life. What do you anticipate today?
I notice that different postures accompany anticipation. For example, before a soul care session the posture of my soul reflects peace, prayerfulness, and eagerness for God’s presence and movement. Yet, while waiting for the acceptance of a homeowner contract my soul might experience unease, imbalance, and worry. The posture of my soul while anticipating physical healing might involve rest, learning, and expectation. Yet, when expecting a new experience, the posture of my soul becomes teachable, enthusiastic, and motivated. Nevertheless, when living with anticipation, the posture almost always involves uncertainty and waiting.
How well do you wait with what is uncertain?
Many of the Psalms demonstrate people living with anticipation of God’s attention and action. Uncertainty and waiting seep through their words. I find myself resonating with the writers of these hymns and connecting with their various emotions and pleas before God. I take my colored pens and underline words and phrases that connect deeply within me as well as draw symbols like stars, hearts, faces, and exclamation marks to highlight the ways I engage with the meaning and power behind the Psalmist’s words. I anticipate God’s attention and action in my life and the world along with the authors of the Psalms.
What posture did the writers of these powerful Scriptures model?
The book of Psalms reveals writers living in reality; being honest with their circumstances and honest with God. Dissonant words of anguish, praise, confidence, and confusion volley back and forth as the writers express themselves. Nevertheless, the authors of the Psalms declare a posture of dependence upon God and trust in His character through the anticipation, uncertainty, and waiting.
When anticipation leads to uncertainty what are different ways for us to settle our soul ?
- Declare aloud the characteristics of God. Describe the distinguishing features of God. God is…
- Pause to imagine the Good Shepherd leading you beside still waters. Use your five senses to rest with God and connect all of your being with Him. Maybe read or recite Psalm 23.
- Notice your physical body – Take some deep breaths and thank God for life. Welcome the peace of God to flow into every cell and membrane of your being as you scan your God-given body.
- Pray a simple prayer – a name for God, a request of God. For example, “Triune God, calm my soul,” “Prince of Peace, take these burdens,” “Faithful God, I wait on you.”
- Listen to songs of worship and praise. My favorites these days are Breakthrough, I will Trust, and Echo Holy by Red Rocks Worship.
- Surrender yourself to God. Seek the face of God and live with holy detachment to His timing and ways.
- Meditate on Scripture, especially those that call upon God while waiting. Here are a few:
Psalm 5:3 – In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 27:14 – Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 33:20 – We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
Psalm 37:3 – Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 38:15 – Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.
Psalm 40:1 – I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 106:13 – But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
Psalm 119:84 – How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
Psalm 119:166 – I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands.
Psalm 130:5 – I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:6 – I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Allow the certainty of God’s character to overshadow the uncertainty of living with anticipation. With whatever you find your soul anticipating, know that God’s powerful and peaceful presence presides over you.
Choose to set yourself before God with a posture of dependency and trust. Engage in practical ways to settle your soul when the anticipation evokes dissonant emotions.
I haven’t received a phone call yet, so the anticipation for Baby Girl Hoag’s arrival continues. Maybe in the next Spigot I’ll have an announcement that the anticipation produced celebration?!?! 💜
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Lamentations 3:25-26 – The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Hebrews 9:28 – so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Michael E. Wittmer. Anticipating Heaven. Grand Rapids, MI. 2019.
Andrew Murray. Waiting on God: A 31 Day Adventure into the Heart of God. The Woodlands, TX. 2020.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Bryan and Katie Torwalk. Anticipation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUxWxwfZFwQ
Elevation Worship and Maverick City. Wait on You. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR4l0-48SeY