Waiting with Expectant Hope

Recently, my mom took several flights traveling throughout the south-east and mid-western United States. There were many delays due to weather, airport shutdowns, and various other factors. Needless to say, she experienced plenty of waiting and ample displays of humanity in distress. Waiting well is hard. Stress and fear have a way of crashing over us in the blink of an eye, especially if we aren’t paying attention and mindful. We lose our marbles! Guilty!Waiting is part of life. I don’t know a single person who isn’t waiting for something. We’re waiting for our flight to take off, waiting for a phone call, healing, to finish school, retirement, or the next step – Whatever that looks like. Maybe we’re just waiting for lunch time! It can be tempting to look at waiting as a waste of time. Waiting can present time for anger and fear to grow in our minds, occasionally spilling out and on to others.If waiting were viewed through the lens of God’s providence, our waiting goes much deeper. What if the practice of waiting became an opportunity for us to trust God more and grow in relationship with Him? Rather than grow impatience, we grew expectancy and trust?Waiting well. Tony Evans talks a bit about waiting well in his book, Detours. (It’s an encouraging, easy read. And personally, very timely.) Take a look at his list on waiting well, and being patient with detours.“With anticipation.With hope.With longing.With expectation.With desire.With faith and obedience.These things, and more, dissipate doubt. It dissolves despair.”[i]I appreciate how Dr. Evans presents us with the fact that waiting well dissipates doubt and dissolves fear. Waiting with faith puts our focus on to eternal things, rather than the earthly and temporal things. That being said, our waiting is almost always with the earthly and the unknown. Though mysterious, God’s character is known and revealed through His Word – His goodness surpasses all. That is what we can put our hope, longing, desire, and expectations in.

“I wait for the LORD; I wait and put my hope in his word.

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning –

more than watchmen for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the LORD.

For there is faithful love with the LORD,

and with him is redemption in abundance.”

Psalm 130:5-7 (CSB)

As watchmen on the wall of a city, I can imagine that it would be easy to let our imagination run rampant during the wait for dawn. Those wee hours before daylight, darkness doesn’t seem to have an end. It’s always coldest just before dawn. We grow desperate for light. If you’ve ever waited in the wee hours of the morning after a long night with a sick child, you know the feeling. Desperation and exhaustion.Will today be the day for __________ ?Let’s be expectant for God to show up in the unexpected, and in unexpected ways.What are you waiting for, with God? What promise are you faithfully standing on? Would you join me with hope and expectancy, trusting in His providence and sovereignty as we wait?He is our God of faithful love, and with Him is redemption in abundance!Love you so much, siblings in Christ.With Gratitude,Amypsalm27_14[i] Evans, Tony. (2017) Detours, The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny (pg. 169). Nashville, TN, B&H Publishing.

Constant Companion

Do you ever feel completely alone and lost? Whether physically or mentally, feelings of being alone or away from God’s presence can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s easy to get stuck in that rut of thinking when our earthly plans, or even plans that we believe with 100% certainty that God is ordaining, go totally awry with a dramatic life detour.Don’t you just love when God begins to speak something over you in not one but two places. Presently, I’ve been reading Genesis in during my quiet time, and for fun it’s been Tony Evan’s book, Detours. (It’s an easy and relevant read. Go for it.) The story of Joseph came up simultaneously over the past week, in both locations.While in Genesis 39 the phrase, “The LORD was with Joseph” stuck out to me like a bruised thumb. In fact, it’s used three times in that particular chapter. This covenant making, covenant keeping LORD proclaims through scripture that he was continually with Joseph in times where most would feel lost and alone.

As Joseph was being sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer to Pharaoh in Egypt, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:2)

As Joseph was being accused, stripped of his responsibilities in Pharaoh’s house, and thrown into prison, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:21)

As he served in prison, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:23)

Throughout these detours into slavery and prison, Joseph’s respect and desire to serve God is revealed. Out of his fortitude and desire to not sin against God, Joseph stands for what he believes to be true – no matter the cost. I believe we see a maturity taking place as God provides opportunities for growth in his faith and character.Joseph’s big mouth and haughty attitude got him into trouble in the first place (Gen. 37), but God never left his side. We are all a work in progress, and we serve a God of completion - even if it takes some drastic detours to get our attention. I have more questions than answers through these chapters in Genesis, but one thing is for sure. God does not leave His children.Generations of our spiritual brothers and sisters are told countless times by the LORD that he would never leave them or forsake them, promise. I believe that promise is carried on to us too. Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always,” I believe that’s a promise we too can hold on to.No matter where you find yourself in this present moment, God is with you. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Our Great I AM is always with us, and will never leave or forsake us.Put your name in the space provided, it’s taken from Genesis 39:21.But the LORD was with ___________ and extended kindness to him/her.How might you be able to open your heart and mind to knowing you are not alone, but securely in the LORD’s presence? Could you be willing to patiently extend your hand with me in receiving His kindness today?Comment below if you'd like, and I'll be joining you in prayer over these things.With Gratitude,Amybut the lord was with joseph and extended kindness to him.

Posture

When I was a kid, my mom would often correct my posture. I must have been walking hunched over, because most of those memories of her comments take place as we walk across a parking lot. As a kid, it was just annoying. As an adult, I know it’s important and can affect my whole body. The posture of our body can also speak volumes to others, body language. Crossed arms over my chest, and I’m probably not being very open to what others are saying.I know posture is important, and I know that it can tell a lot about a person. What then, is my posture to the Lord? That internal posture. Am I closed off and withheld, arms crossed in defiance or anger? Am I soft and moldable, or dry and brittle? Am I open and available?I’m learning that when I feel as though God is far away, I am not posturing myself towards him. I’m not leaning in, or doing so with a hard and reluctant heart. Scripture has hints tucked within, addressing posture towards our Creator.“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10 (ESV, emphasis added)That’s a promise; open wide! “For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9 (HCSB)“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as a for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5 (ESV, emphasis added)I’ve found that receiving words (Prov. 2:1), comes with open attentive ears and willing hands to receive what’s being given. It may sound funny to have open ears – my kids would argue their ears are always open. But I beg to differ. I know there has been more than one occasion when I ignored that inner voice, Holy Spirit, nudging me along.An inclined heart (Prov. 2:2). Here, the Hebrew word for inclined is nâtâh and it means to stretch or spread out.[i] The way I understand this, as it relates to posturing myself, is being able to take my heart and spread it out before the Lord. Vulnerably stretching it out for him, through prayer and scripture. Leaning in to Him with a heart that is willing to hear, heal and grow. Nâtâh my heart.With a heart stretched out, I must also keep my eyes open. Seeking and searching. And like the promise in Psalm 51 with an open mouth, Proverbs 2:1-5 carries one too. Posturing our hearts, with an attentive and open ear allows room for understanding the fear of the Lord, and knowledge of God.natalie-collins-177063Posturing myself towards Him not only requires a willing spirit, it requires trust. Am I willing to trust the Father with a surrendered heart, open and stretched out? Posturing myself towards Him, am I willing to receive what He has? I want to encourage you to take some time – What is our posture towards the Lord? Keep your eyes attentive to what scripture says about our posture towards Him. Softened hearts, stiff necks (which is not so great), and listening (or not listening) ears are tucked into all of scripture. I’m convinced that the Lord speaks to His children, He is the good shepherd (John 10). Are you postured to hear and see him? [i] A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.