Expectancy is a part of everyone’s life; so is “waiting.”
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to son-ship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved…we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:22 – 25)
We wait eagerly. We wait patiently.
How can we be so sure? How do we keep our faith strong? We have a solid down payment – a guarantee from God Himself.
God “sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:22) We have “tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.” (Hebrews 6:4)
“Foretaste” – a small anticipatory sample of something that will happen in the future to a greater degree.
One of the first hymns I recall singing as a new believer was “Blessed Assurance”, by that great song writer Fanny Crosby. The first verse begins with, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine; Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!” The last verse ends, “Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”
Fanny Crosby was blind due to a medical error when she was being treated for an eye infection as a baby. Her grandmother and landlady were agents of God in her training. They taught her God’s Word and how to pray. The result – Her expectancy triumphed over her circumstances.
One of Fanny’s first know compositions was this poem that she wrote at the age of eight: “Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world contented I will be! How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t! So weep or sigh because I’m blind, I cannot – nor I won’t.”
Another one of my Crosby favorites is “To God be the Glory.” The last verse reads, “Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son; but purer, and higher, and greater will be our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.” It’s all about going from something great to something greater.
Eagerly and patiently waiting – “Are we there yet”? comes to mind. The key to helping our eager child to wait patiently on that road trip, is to give them something with which to occupy themselves; travel games, reading material, music. Fanny Crosby was married at the age of 38, wrote thousands of hymns, and was actively involved in ministry to the urban poor until her death at age 95.
The future gaze does not preclude present ministry but rather fuels it.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.” ( Col. 3: 1,2)
A mind filled with the thoughts of God will be compelled into service. Those who wait patiently remain occupied presently in kingdom enterprise.
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)