Anticipation! A sense of expectancy, of hope, excitement or suspense. I wonder, is there something in your life that you are looking forward to with anticipation?
Last year I was looking forward to my trip to Malawi to see my eldest son get married. This year, I looked forward with anticipation to he and his family returning to live in Glasgow (for a while, anyway) and was delighted to be reunited with them in May when Tim and I travelled up to Scotland to see them.
Now I am looking forward, again with anticipation, to becoming a Grandma, when Chris and Sharifa hopefully have a new baby sometime in August. Living with a position sense of expectation of something good that is going to happen is good for the soul; and how hard is it when what we anticipate is negative, fearful and brings with it a foreboding.
I have been thinking and pondering over the familiar words of the 23rd Psalm recently:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; and my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The person writing these words is anticipating God’s goodness with him for his whole life; the goodness that characterises God, and the promise of God’s presence for ever. It’s not like the song that we sing about Father Christmas; trying to get the children to behave when the excitement of anticipation of presents means they can hardly contain themselves!
O! You’d better watch out! You better not cry. Better not pout, I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake!
The 23rd Psalm has phrases and words that conjure up for us positive pictures of provision and trust, of support and comfort on our walk through life, whatever stage we are at and even when we anticipate tough stuff. God is willing and able to lead us into peaceful places even things are difficult, or stressful or so excited we can hardly contain ourselves.
For some, the school holidays will have been highly anticipated – with excitement and joy – but for others it will be a struggle. Missing seeing friends, missing the structure of the school day or enjoying seeing friends and thriving in the flexibility and potential of each day. And then there will be the anticipation of going back to school after 6 weeks holiday. We all deal with these life experiences differently, and God is there to respond to us as individuals when we come to him for help.