I find it intriguing how anticipation often leads to disappointment. We often build things up so great in our mind and then the reality can’t live up to this fantastical imagining. The best example I have of this is children looking forward to Spring Break. I saw the excitement in my nephew’s eyes as I picked him up for part of his Spring Break. I don’t know what he had planned for us, but it must have been awesome! However, none of it played out due to rainy weather and reality. This occurrence made me think back to when I was a kid and would get so excited for things that would ultimately be for naught. My imagination would build an anticipation that would be so inflamed, that reality stood no chance.
But isn’t that how anticipation works? It often exaggerates and suspends reality, then bursts the bubble and reality quickly comes back into view. I find the same thing happens with adults but sometimes in the reverse order. We often imagine the worst, and our mind builds up this terrible happening, that doesn’t necessarily even come to life. All of a sudden, we are looking on the Internet for a diagnosis for a hurt finger and read that it is probably cancer. I mean seriously… why do we do this? Why as adults do we always imagine the harshest reality and build up this anticipation for the worst? This often makes us so pessimistic that we can’t even be happy that it turns out for the better.
Our anticipation almost always ruins our reality. We need to stop antagonizing ourselves. Anticipation does not have to be a bad thing. It can actually be a very good thing, because the Bible describes it as being filled with HOPE and FAITH.
A great example of anticipation from the Bible is Simeon. In Luke 2, we read in verse 26 that, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” As I began thinking about anticipation, I couldn’t help but imagine what this would feel like. Simeon was advanced in age, and was a devout believer. He had read and heard the words of Prophets that a Messiah was coming. Can you imagine being told that you would not die until seeing the Savior of the world? I can’t begin to fathom the extreme anticipation that he must have felt. To know that you will get to see the Messiah, after many men had talked about His coming… and yet you are going to see Him before you die. WOW! What an amazing thing to be anticipating!!
Simeon’s response is priceless in Luke 2:29-30, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation.” Simeon was so excited about the gravity that God kept His word. He had seen the Savior and was finally at peace. Simeon told God that He could allow him to die now because Simeon had an anticipation that was met beyond his expectations.
What a testament to how we are supposed to anticipate the assurance of God’s promises. Not just any kind of anticipation, but one filled with faith and hope. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” We are supposed to wait expectantly for the things God has promised. Our anticipation is necessary, but must be present because our faith and hope are placed in the Lord. When we are put off and made to wait with no hope, we lose faith that it will happen, but as our longings are fulfilled God begins to revive us and we flourish.
Anticipation is not something we have to learn, because it comes quite naturally. We anticipate things without realizing it. But the reality is that God wants us to seek Him and find refuge. He also loves us without reason, without condition. Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” We tend to get wrapped up in our current situations and frustrations, but if we stop and think about the glory that awaits us, it can’t even compare.
My final thought on anticipation is this:
Expect Him to do good works…
Hope for Him to begin new works in and through you…
Have faith that He will exceed any expectations you place on him…
And finally, love God with all that you’ve got and share that love with those around you and anticipate Him changing you for the better!