Expectation

Expectation takes its lead from my heart. If I’m expecting gloom an doom, that’s exactly what I get. If I’m expecting to get what I deserve, that’s what I get. I spent most of my life thinking I deserved less than God had in mind, and that’s exactly what I got. I love this image of the girls right after they helped put up the Christmas tree because they are excitedly expecting the wonderful things to come. My heart has grown to expect the same.

Advent should be a season of great wonder and excitement. God’s Son came down to be with us, and He’s coming again!! If Christians had half the excitement about that good news as these little girls have about the prospect of Santa Claus coming, the world would be a very different place.

Waiting is never easy, and that is particularly true for little ones at this time of year; but when we wait in the sweet anticipation of knowing God loved us enough to send His only Son and loves us enough to send Him again, we become like children who believe with all their hearts that something amazing is coming! That makes us smile and squeal the way these two little ones did when the Christmas tree was finally up.

I pray my heart will always be like a child waiting for something beyond my comprehension but real enough to make me squeal.

I Wonder….

Wonder wakes my heart and directs my wandering mind. I love words, and wonder is a favorite of mine. The dictionary definition for the noun form reads, “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” The verb is to, “desire or be curious to know something.” 

God gives each of us the gift of curiosity. It is a thirst which drives us to His love. Jesus tells the woman at the well in John 4:14 that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (NASB) The woman was filled with wonder and wanted to understand something inexplicable. She was not satisfied with the  world’s water and knew in her heart there was something better. Christ’s words awoke her wonder.

The desire for something better, newer, bigger, faster, etc., is never-ending. Christ offers another way of living. He offers living water that creates a wellspring in our own hearts. Christ’s precious love doesn’t pass through us like all the other things we put into our bodies and minds in an attempt to quench a thirst only God can quench. We all know about thirst we can’t quench and hunger that will not go away. God knows the source of all yearning is a desire to be loved, and He also knows that satisfaction needs a never-ending source.

God doesn’t take away our thirst, but He  does offer to quench it once and for all. The old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink comes to mind when I read John 4. This woman’s thirst, like all of ours, comes from a deep need to be filled with something other than what the world has to offer.

No amount of water, food, sex, power, money, or drugs comes close to a drop of the living water Christ offers to the woman at the well. I can refuse or delay, or I can take a little taste and walk away; but if  I drink deeply, His love becomes a beautiful spring in my own heart. The choice is mine, and it always will be. God doesn’t force His love on others, and He doesn’t force others to love Him back. He knows unconditional love is the only thing that will satisfy. The wonder of the woman at the well is in all of us, and I’m thankful for that wonder because it brought me to a fountain of living water that changes the way I live and love.

I wander when I’m distracted or disturbed, but wonder always brings me back to His well. I hope I never lose the wide-eyed wonder that fills me with a desire to embrace His “beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, and inexplicable” love. I believe it’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 18:3 when He said, ““Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NASB) Children have a natural sense of wonder until we destroy it. It would be a wonderful world indeed if we allowed children to help us find our wonder so we could find our way back to that fountain and drink deeply.

Wonderland

Wonder is a big part of worship, but I let worry and want keep me from wondering as I should. Instead of letting awestruck wonder fill my heart and life, I waste precious time worrying about whether or not I’ll get what I want. Want and worry go hand in hand, and I find I can’t have one without the other. My wants are right in the middle of my worries. Those worries are a sure sign that I’m focused upon myself rather than God.

When I focus upon God, I’m struck by His majesty,  I’m also amazed by His patient love and find myself seeking His presence. Saying two in the Gospel of Thomas says this about seeking.

“Jesus said, Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. And after they have reigned, they will rest.”

I love the progression Thomas includes in his gospel because I’ve found that seeking does disturb at first. When I get past the disturbance, I marvel as I am able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to reign over the things of this world. The reigning isn’t about controlling circumstances but rather about living in and loving through them. It’s taken a long time for me to come to this place of rest, but the Holy Spirit provides peace that passes all rest I’ve ever known.

Worries and wants are giants that can only be slain by wonder in and worship of a God who loves me more than I can imagine on my own. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the company of those who hear my heart and continue to love me anyway, I can not only absorb that love, I can share it with others. It’s what the Good News of Jesus Christ is all about, and I thank God for the patience He has shown to me.

It’s tempting to stop seeking and simply sit satisfied safely in my own salvation, but that self satisfaction can never take the place of the joy that comes from sharing God’s love. When it comes to temptation, I can test God and try His patience, or I can trust Him and take His advice. Either way, I  find that God never changes, but He can change me if I let Him.

I think I’ll keep seeking, wondering, and worshiping God because I love the peace that comes once I find Him.

Seeking God
Seeking God