Anticipation can be almost as good as the actual event or item we wait for. That’s one reason why we love the Christmas season. The extended period of joyful expectation is half of the fun.
Strangely, even when anticipations are tempered by doubt or fear—or when prospects appear negative—we fare better than when we live with no expectations. The things we anticipate give shape and meaning to daily events. They provide direction and purpose.
The Israelites lived in anticipation—they waited centuries for their Messiah. And while they waited, God spoke to them through the prophets. The book of Isaiah tells us, He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young. (Is. 40:11 NKJV)
Perhaps the Israelites failed to see the promises were with them all the time. When they walked in doubt or fear, God gave them hope. When they sinned and faced judgment, He directed their vision beyond their circumstances to the joy of receiving forgiveness. Walking in God’s promises requires trust. The Israelites needed to believe that He loved them and to anticipate that He would move in their lives.
Originally published December 11, 1992
7 years ago