One thing I love about God is He often speaks or moves in my life in unexpected ways. During a down day or week or month, or let's face it, a year in some cases, He will show up like a beam of sunlight breaking through dark clouds to shine a spot of joy into my life.
I remember when I was still in school, I would have these unexpected moments of pure joy. They seemed unattached to anything going on around me. I'd just have this moment when I was enveloped in this feeling of pure joy - like a small glimpse of heaven touched my heart. I remember marveling at these moments even then, thinking how cool it was that God gave me those little gifts even on days when it felt like the sky was falling (and honestly, in middle school that was pretty much every day in my drama queen little world lol).
As I went into adulthood, I was often buoyed up by my hope for what God was going to do next. I eagerly looked at the bend in the road, hugging myself with the anticipation of what might lie ahead. It gave me great joy to wonder, to dream, to thrill with anticipation. You just never knew what might be coming.
In the past few years though, slowly, gradually without my even realizing it my expectations have dimmed. Those moments of expectation became more sporadic and tinged with cynicism. My moments of joy came farther apart. Sure, I had moments when God would speak to me or move or show me something and that beam of light would break through into the monotony of the daily grind, but those moments seemed to come more and more rarely to me.
Nothing truly horrible had happened - nobody had cancer or had died or anything like that, but a series of small things combined with a packed busy schedule had chipped away at that spirit of expectation I used to carry into each day, until somewhere along the way I laid it down by the side of the road. Sure, I kept walking the path, but instead of bubbles of frothy anticipation, bends in the road just brought me worry as I contemplated what would be waiting for me just out of sight. Instead of expecting good things, I had unintentionally started to brace myself for the negative.
Not that long ago, I was listening to Alistair Begg on the radio. He was talking about when our hope is in circumstances, then we were bound to be disappointed and eventually lose that hope, BUT to hope in a Person - now that never brought disappointment. It was independent of circumstances or difficulties. Instead that hope was fixed on Christ - who never changes, who is always faithful, who never fails us.
This week, as part of our God-sized dream assignment we were supposed to write about something that brings us joy. As I thought about what brings me joy, a lot of things went through my head - my husband, my children, my family, my friends, finding that perfect phrase or just reading a really good book. But honestly, with out that sense of hopeful anticipation - that expectation of God's goodness, I don't experience a lot of joy.
It's easy to let this world and all the things that come along with living in it steal both our hope and our joy. In fact, it's often not the really big things, but the small, nagging things that suck out our joy. I remember a saying about even though mosquitoes are tiny, they can cause a lot of misery. Song of Solomon talks about the little foxes in the vineyard. Often it's the little things - like pebbles in our shoes - that can wear away our joy and our hope.
But ultimately, my hope and my joy is found in God - not circumstances. When I make the choice to focus on Him, the joy follows not far behind.
"I would have despaired unless I believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalms 27:13
The emphasis is mine - you'll notice David is looking for God's goodness, not on the other side heaven but right here - in the land of the living. It's okay to to wait with great expectations for God's goodness, right here, today. God wants us to look to Him with great, joyful, hopeful expectation so He can surpass it. And knock our socks off. :)
How has God shown you His goodness today?
~ Blessings, Bronte